Skip to main content

Full text of "The lord wardens of the marches of England and Scotland : being a breif history of the marches, the laws of march, and the marchmen, together with some account of the ancient feud between England and Scotland"

See other formats


This Edition is limited to 500 copies 


















'For alsmekil as this Nobill He, callit Gret Britanee, can 
nocht be kepit and maintenit bettir in Welth and Prosperite 
than such Thingis to be practizit and concludit betweyn 
the Kingis of boith the Reahnes of Scotland and Ingland, 
quharby that and thare subjectis micht be assoverit to lefe in 
Peax, Luf and Tendines to grow and incres ymangis thame, 
it hath be Aggreit, Accordit and Concludit that, considerit 
the long continewyt Trublis, Discentions and Debattis 
betwen the boith Eealmes, with gret and mortell Werre 
that haith followit thar uppon, for the appeasing and setting 
apart of the samyn, a newar and a most especiale Weye is 
to be fundin and had than only the trust of the Trew and 
Abstinence of Werre that is nowe or ony uthir Trew that 
couth be divisit betuix boith the Parties.' 

Confirmatio Alligantiarum et Treugarum per Regem 
Scotonun. 26. X. 1474. (Rymer, Foedera.) 






Posuit fines tuos pacem. Ps. xlviii 

No Warden keeps the Marches, 

From Tynedale to the Tweed, 
Broad winds the road to Scotland 

Beside the streams of Rede. 

Here, where some flaming roof-tree 

Leaped red-tongued to the sky, 
About the grass-grown ruins, 

The nesting stock-doves fly. 

Here, where spear-driven cattle 

Splashed deep to taste the cool, 
Only the quick-winged dipper 

Startles the quiet pool. 

Unwatched, your flocks, shepherd, 

Feed safe o'er many a field, 
With red-brown bracken rusted 

Hangs Cheviot's dinted shield. 

Plough, husbandman, long furrows, 

Fling, sower, undismayed, 
In groves of birch and alder 

Tweed sheathes his steel-bright blade. 


Reprinted by kind permission of Mr. Elkin Mathews. 


IT may be claimed for this Book that it was written 
on the only true principle, viz. to please the author, 
and furthermore, to enable him to resolve certain 
doubts. He well remembers how difficult, for example 
to cite only three instances he found it in the past 
to discover precisely what a ' Land Serjeant ' was, and 
what the true meaning of ' Double and Sawfey ' might 
be, or exactly what ' to baugle ' meant. 

' Sawfey ' has hitherto been defined as ' blackmail ' * 
levied by Border raiders, or ' protection money,' but 
in reality the word means a, fine or punishment, and 
is part of the code of the Border Laws. Sir Robert 
Bowes (who had been long time a Warden and ' one 
of the most expert Borderers within memory,' so Sir 
William Bowes Treasurer of Berwick styles him in 
writing to Burleigh in 1598), discusses the term fully 

1 By an enactment of the 43rd Eliz., it was ordered without, however, 
impeaching the jurisdiction of the Lord Wardens that the paying 'a 
certain rate of money, corn, cattle, or other consideration, commonly there 
called by the name of blackmail, unto divers and sundry inhabitants upon 
or near the Border was felony without benefit of cltrgy.' 

Blackmail is said to signify payment in cattle ; whitemail in silver 



in his report 1 on the Borders in 1551, and though he 
has infinite difficulty in spelling it (flass, sale, falsse 
being varieties), he sets forth the meaning clearly 

The duties again of a ' Land Serjeant ' become 
clear when you read Thomas Carleton's Letters 2 to 
Lord Burleigh in 1597, and the true signification of 
'baugle' or 'bauchle' in a memorandum on the 
' manner of holding days of Truce ' in Sir R. Bowes's 

The Border Papers, so ably edited by the late Mr. 
Joseph Bain, are a true search-light for students of 
Border History, for you get there the personal 
equation of the Lord Wardens and the inhabitants 
of the Marches. 

Therein you may gather incidentally the difficulties 
of March administration when you read Sir John 
Forster's letter to Walsingham, where, after mention- 
ing the death of Sir Thomas Ker in 1586 who had 
been his opposite Warden he concludes with an 
expression of sorrow * that he had not beine hanged.' 
You can also read of the many accusations brought 
against Forster himself, and of his final dismissal 
from his Wardenship. 

There are of course innumerable books stout 

1 See Reprints, vol. iv. (Richardson, Newcastle). 

2 See Calendar of Border Papers, vol. ii p. 447. 


quartos as well as ephemeral crown octavos about 
the Border, but there is none, so far as the present 
writer knows, that sets forth the romantic story of 
'the Laws of the Marches,' the lawgivers, and the 
lawless on its social or administrative side, which is 
the task the writer has essayed. Bishop Nicholson's 
Leges Marchiarum is the foundation-stone of the 
building which has been built up thereafter out of the 
Border Minstrelsy of Sir Walter Scott, Burn and 
Nicholson's History of Westmorland and Cumberland, 
Ridpath's History, Armstrong's History of Liddesdale 
and the Debateable Land, Andrew Lang's History of 
Scotland, Rymer's Foedera, and, most important of 
all, the Border Papers above mentioned. 

Dr. Hodgkin's excellent Creightonian Lecture on 
the 'Wardens of the Northern Marches' (Murray, 
1908) had a list of the various Wardens which the 
present writer in ' conveying ' has somewhat amplified. 
He has further with Dr. Hodgkin's kind permission 
made use of a like title for this book. 

He must also express his gratitude to Dr. Neilson 
of Glasgow for discovering to him the meaning of 
that strange term the Manus de Wardshiell, men- 
tioned in the first of the Leges Marchiarum, that 
had long been an enigma. 

Finally, his warm thanks are due to Mr. C. B. L. 
Fletcher of Oxford for reading through the MS., 


and for much valued criticism and advice, and to 
the Rev. H. A. Wilson of Magdalen College for 
sundry suggestions and interesting notes, and to 
Mr. A. L. Smith of Balliol College for various 
assistance and encouragement. 

As you read in the Border Laws you will note 
the gradual growth of civilisation in the kings at 
least, if not the people 1 as shown by the various 
sections of the later indentures, dealing with swifter 
methods of bringing notorious thieves and murderers 
to justice, also with making the meetings of the Lord 
Wardens more frequent and efficacious, till finally in 
1596 seven years before the 'Marches of England 
against Scotland ' and of ' Scotland against England ' 
became King James's ' Middle Shires ' you will find 

1 Indeed the last state of the Borders was worse than the first, for even so 
late as 1587, when there was peace between the two kingdoms, the lawless- 
ness of the Borderland can be shown at a glance by giving the ' breviate of 
the attempts of England committed upon the West Marches by the West 
Borders of Liddesdale and fouled (viz., found true), by the Commissioners 
of Berwick for lack of appearance, with the breviate of the Liddesdale Bills, 
ouled of the inhabitants of the West Marches by the Commissioners at 
Berwick : with the names of such persons noted in the Marches, as my 
Lord Scroope had ready to deliver, together with the breviate of the bills 
of England, fouled at Berwick upon the West Marches of Scotland, by the 
Commissioners, according to the indenture.' Add to the above the counter 
abstract of the West Marches of Scotland fouled against the West Marches 
of England by the said Commissioners. 

The sum-total of all these various bills for slaughter, wounding, theft, 
and burnings amounted to J9700 for English claims, and to .41,600 for 
the Scottish, leaving thus a surplus of English wrongdoing to the tune of 


even the spiritual needs of the inhabitants taken 
thought of. 

Thus, Item 1 of the last of the Border Laws runs 
as follows : ' That the Princes be most humbly and 
earnestly intreated to cause God's ministers of the 
Word to be planted in every Border Church, to 
inform the Lawless People of their Duty, and to 
watch over their manners, and that the Principal 
Inhabitants of each Parish shall put in surety to 
their Prince for Due Reverence to be used towards 
their Pastors in their Offices, and the safety of 
their Persons ; and that to this effect, order may 
be timely taken for reparation of the Decayed 
Churches within the Bounds/ 

We may conclude our Preface with a quaint 
illustration of the usual fate of the Borderer in the 
old days, who rarely died ' like a cow ' in his bed. 

As we commented once upon the excess of the 
names of women over those of men on the headstones 
in the Churchyard at Bewcastle, the Sexton responded 
drily, ' What happened the men ? Wey, the men 
were a' hangit at weary Carlisle ! ' 







Part I. A RETROSPECT . . . . 6 




Part II. ' DEADLY FEUD ' . . . . .33 







THE BORDERS ' . . .. . . .66 






WARDENS ...... 104 


WARDENS' PROCEDURE . . . . .116 





TREASON' . . . . . . 138 





OF THE RAIDERS . . . . .161 
















SCOTS JUSTICIARS . . . . .214 




EPILOGUE ....... 230 

I. 'THE AULD ENEMY' . . . . .231 





INDEX 247 




. . Frontispiece 

The Hon. Walter James, K.E. . 


MARCH . . . . . at pp. 42-43 



MARCH. ...... 160-161 




' I care not who makes the laws of a nation so long as I may frame their 


THE charm of the Borderland and its ancient romance 
is not unlike to the spell which Homer wove about 
the feud of Greek and Trojan. The Border history is 
more barbarous indeed, yet it is often instinct with 
the same chivalrous motives and occupied with the 
like human interests, and further, it has supplied a 
like magnificent inspiration. In the one case you 
have as singer and maker one of the greatest of all 
poets Homer : in the other ' out and out the king of 
the romantics ' to quote Stevenson's words ' Sir 
Walter Scott.' 

In either case you have the elemental passions 
of love and hate, fidelity to chief and cause, the 
fearlessness of man, the courage and constancy of 
woman ; you can match the ruses of Odysseus with 



those of Sir James Douglas, the beauty of Helen with 
the fascination of Mary Queen of Scots, for whom 
so many Borderers on either side fought in vain, in 
whose cause the Earl of Northumberland lost his life 
and the Earl of Westmoreland his estates. 

When the Laird of Buccleugh had so gallantly 
rescued * Kinmont Will ' from Carlisle Castle and 
was confronted with the wrath of Queen Elizabeth, 
he won the great Queen's admiration by his dauntless 
words, ' What is there that a brave man will not 
attempt ? ' 

And we may add the testimony of Sir Philip Sidney 
to the hold the Border story retains upon the human 
heart, for, ' confessing his barbarousness,' he admitted 
that Chevy Chase moved him more than the sound 
of trumpet. 

As the duel and the battle were waged for years 
about the walls of Troy between the Achaians and 
the Trojans, so for centuries the long contest raged 
upon the Borderland between the English and the 
Scots, ' and the earth streamed with blood/ 

' Ot S' ore 8tj p' es \wpov eva ^uiuovres I'KOVTO, 
2w p' e(3a\ov ptvoiis, <rvv 8' eyx ea * a ' fteve' avSpwv 
XaA.Ko0u)/cjKC)V drap curTrtSes o//,</>aAoe(r(rGU 
"ETTA^VT' a.XX.rjXyai, TroAvs 8' opvfj.a.ySo's opatpti. 
'Ev0a8' a/x' oifKayr) re KCU evx^Ai) ireXcv avfy>wv, 
re, KCU oAAv/zevouv, pee 8' ai'/zari ycua.' 

Iliad, iv. 446451. 


The Borderland, indeed, possesses a twofold magic : 
the one is the dowry of nature, the other that of a 
great artist, for the ' great Wizard ' has peopled a 
romantic country for us with undying figures, even 
as Homer filled the plains of the Simois and Scamander 
to our delight with living heroes. The natural magic 
endures through the ages, for one of late l who has 
been called the ' swiftest and brightest spirit of our 
day ' felt it to the full. 

Thus, Miss Sichel writes of her friend's love for 
Northumberland. ' She liked nature to be a power 
outside her, infusing into her the joy, the peace, that 
she did not always possess. She never felt that power 
more than in Northumberland. Northumberland 
haunted her : she loved its stern moods, its summer 
richness, its Border sights, its strong romance.' 

Yet to some the Border scenery is too stern, too 
uninhabited, and too aloof from mankind to please. 
To the Frenchman and the city lover it is triste, as a 
friend of the writer's once characterised it. 

Washington Irving, as we know from his own 
account, was disappointed with what he saw upon 
the Scottish Border. ' Our ramble,' he wrote in his 
Miscellanies, ' took us on the hills commanding an 
extensive prospect. " Now," said Scott, " I have 
brought you, like the pilgrim in the Pilgrim's 
1 Miss Mary Coleridge. 


Progress, to the top of the Delectable Mountains, 
that I may show you all the goodly regions hereabouts. 
Yonder is Lammermuir, and Smailholme ; and there 
you have Galashiels, and Gala Water : and in that 
direction you see Teviotdale and the Braes of Yarrow, 
and Ettrick Stream winding along like a silver thread 
to throw itself into the Tweed/' He went on thus 
to call over names celebrated in Scottish Song, and 
most of which had recently received a romantic 
interest from his own pen. In fact, I saw a great 
part of the Border country spread out before me, 
and could trace the scenes of those poems and 
romances which had in a manner bewitched the 

' I gazed about me for a time with mute surprise, I 
may almost say, with disappointment. I beheld a 
mere succession of grey, waving hills, line beyond line, 
as far as my eye could .reach, monotonous in their 
aspect, and so destitute of trees, that one could almost 
see a stout fly walking along their profile : and the 
far-famed Tweed appeared a naked stream, flowing 
between bare hills, without a tree or a thicket on 
its banks : and yet, such had been the magic web of 
poetry and romance thrown over the whole, that it 
had a greater charm for me than the richest scenery 
I had beheld in England. I could not help giving 
utterance to my thoughts. . Scott hummed for a 


moment to himself, and looked grave : he had no idea 
of having his muse complimented at the expense of 
his native hills. 

'"It may be pertinacity," said he at length, " but to 
my eye these grey hills and all this ivild border country 
have beauties peculiar to themselves. I like the very 
nakedness of the land ; it has something bold, and stern, 
and solitary about it. When I have been for some 
time in the rich scenery about Edinburgh, which is like 
ornamented garden land, I begin to wish myself back 
again among my own honest grey hills : and if I did 
not see the heather at least once a year, I think I should 
die." ' 





' Quhen Alysandyr, our kyng, was dede. 
That Scotland led in luive and Le. 
Away wes sons of Ale and Brede, 
Of wyne and wax, of gamyn and gle, 
Oure gold was changd into lede. 
Cryst, born into virgynyte, 
Succour Scotland and remede 
That stad is in perplexyte.' 

WYNTOUN, Chronykil. 

BUT let us now turn back our eyes to the far past in 
order to trace the gradual evolution of the kingdoms 
of England and Scotland, and the settling of the 
Border boundary betwixt the two countries, until in 
the reign of Edward i. we meet with the first Lord 
Warden of the Marches. 

The Eoman Wall the ' Picts' Wall/ as the old 
geographers termed it in itself one of the earliest 
signs of the decay of Rome's strength had drawn 
a rampart across Britain which should be a fence 
against the Pict and Scot. 

The still earlier and more northerly bridle of forts 


that praetentura by which Agricola had held in 
subjection the unruly Picts between the Forth and 
Clyde had not been linked together by a wall, and 
Hadrian chose the line between the Tyne and Solway 
for his great rampire whether that be the vallum 
or the wall ; and thus upon the Northumbrian and 
Cumbrian moorlands he built the ' Altars of the 
limits of the Roman Empire.' 

The Emperor Severus again, accepting Hadrian's 
line of fortification, ' built a wall of stone across the 
Island ' extending from sea to sea from Wall send 
that stands by the tidal waters of the North Sea 
to Port Carlisle on Solway Strand, thus leaving 
the greater part of what is now Cumberland and 
Northumberland in the possession of the Pict and Scot. 

Then when the Romans in 410 withdrew their last 
remaining legions from the Island, the raids of the 
Picts and Scots upon the Romanised Britons would 
recommence with delight and be continued with zeal 
till such time as the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons 
possessed themselves of the land, and Edwin the 
Anglian built his * burn,' as the early chroniclers 
aver, beside the Firth of Forth. 

Fighting was the chief occupation of the time, and 
the Northumbrian Ethelfrith, ex tending his sovereignty 
over the kingdom of Deira, ruled from Humber to 
Forth ; made his victorious way as far as Chester, 


which he sacked, and was acknowledged as suzerain by 
the Scots in Dalriada and the Britons in Strathclyde, 
so that the boundary between England and Scotland 
at this time ran from the Forth to the Clyde. 

But the fortunes of warfare ebbed and flowed, 
and when Egfrith was slain in 685 at the Battle 
of Nectansmere these same Scots and Britons re- 
nounced the overlordship of Northumbria. The sun 
of Northumberland's greatness was setting. The 
Danes established themselves in Deira, and Guthred 
gave to the successor of St. Cuthbert what came 
to be known as 'the Bishopric/ namely, all the 
land lying between the Wear and Tyne. Though 
Athelstane by his great victory at Brunanbuhr in 
934 drove back Constantine, King of the Scots, and 
the mixed forces of insurgent Danes, Picts, Welsh 
and Cumbrians, by 963 Edinburgh was lost to England, 
and though Edmund twenty years previously had 
conquered Cumbria (viz. Cumberland and Lancashire), 
he had handed it over to the King of Scots upon 
what would soon come to be called ' feudal tenure/ 
but at the time ' was in reality a bribe to keep the 

'The good old rule, the simple plan/ is still 
efficacious enough in our own twentieth century, as 
Austria- Hungary and Italy have shown in their 
respective treatment of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 


and Tripoli. ' Honest' Austria and Italy alike, after 
the fashion of the ' wight-riding Robson ' of the Play, 
have done a ' little shifting for their living/ On this 
analogy we may easily believe that had it not been 
for the superior power of the Normans no recognition 
of overlordship nor mention of homage would have 
been made for Cumberland or Northumberland by 
the King of Scotland : with a weaker England, 
these counties would inevitably have become part 
of Scotland. 

Thus Lothian, which had been for so long a time 
English ground, had gradually lapsed to, or been 
taken by the Scots, Malcolm n. seemingly having 
wrested it from the feeble hands of Eadwulf Cutel 
in Canute's reign after the Scots' victory at Carham- 
on-Tweed in 1018. 

Hence at the time of the Norman Conquest Malcolm 
Canmore held Cumberland, and a large part of West- 
moreland, and a portion of what had been till recently 
Northumbria ; so that it was not till nearly a century 
later that the boundary line between Scotland and 
England came to run from Berwick and the Tweed 
by Cheviot unto Carlisle. 

There are on Stanemore, nigh to the old road from 
York to Brough and Carlisle, the remains of a cross 
styled the Rey, Roy (royal), or Rere Cross which 
Hector Boethius, the Scottish writer, 'recordeth to 


have been erected as a mear stone or boundary 
between England and Scotland, what time William 
the Conqueror granted Cumberland unto the Scots, 
on this condition, that they should hold of him as 
his tenants, and not attempt anything prejudicial 
or hurtful to the crown of England.' 

This is the picturesque tradition, derived from a 
name, as is commonly the case ; the actual fact is 
that William the Conqueror crossed the Forth with 
an army and received homage of some kind from 
Malcolm Canmore at Abernethy. 

Possibly it may have been no more than the ' simple 
homage ' -per paragium which carried with it no 
obligation of fidelity. Such was the homage rendered 
by the Normans to the King of France as opposed to 
the homagium ligeum whereby an individual became 
' the man ' or vassal of another. 

As Hallam in his View, of the Middle Ages l points 
out, this was frequently done for the sake of pro- 
tection or security, and ' commendation,' 2 though it 
imposed homage, seems not always to have implied 

1 See his State of Europe during the Middle Ages, vol. i. pp. 114-5. (9th 
ed. Murray.) 

2 It may be pointed out in this connection that the Domesday freeholders 
' were at liberty to sell their lands without the permission of any Lord, and 
to enter into a voluntary bond, known as commendation, by which they 
became the retainers of a magnate in return for his protection. But the 
bond did not necessarily confer on their Lord any right over their land.' 
See Domesday Inquest, by Ballard, p. 128. (Methuen, 1907.) 


feudal service, being apparently dissolvable at the 
inferior's pleasure. 

Whether this homage was for the grant of twelve 
villas in England, and a subsidy which William gave 
a feudal recognition only or whether Malcolm 
really ' became the man of the Conqueror ' for his 
kingdom, or only for Lothian and Cumberland or 
certain possessions in England, English and Scottish 
historians will dispute to the day of doom. It was 
not, however, upon this homage paid by Malcolm to 
William, but upon the alleged 'commendation* of 
Scotland to England in A.D. 924, that Edward I. 
based his claim to the overlordship l of Scotland 
which was the origin of the ' feud ' that raged along 
the Border for nigh three centuries. 

Of the aforesaid 'commendation' the chronicler 
gives this account. ' In this year was Edward King 
chosen to father and to lord of the Scots' King 
(Constantine n.), and of the Scots and of Regnald 
King, and of all Northumbrians and eke of the Strath 
Clyde Wealas King, and of all Strath Clyde Wealas.' 

With regard to this Dr. Hill Burton observes that 
these ' memoriales ' derive their importance from the 

1 In reply to Pope Boniface's claim that Scotland was held in fief of 
the Court of Home, Edward i., says the Scalachronica, ' caused a general 
Parliament to be summoned to Lincoln, where it was declared by all laws 
imperial, civil, canonical and royal, and by the custom of the Isle of Britain 
in all times from the days of Brutus, that the sovereignty of Scotland 
belonged to the regality of England, which was announced to the Pope.' 


political use made of them later in connection with 
feudal institutions and their distinct practice of 
superiority and homage. 

As to the authority for the statement that Malcolm 
Canmore became the Conqueror's 'man,' Dr. Hill 
Burton observes that Florence of Worcester drew 
his information from Walter 1'Espec's speech at the 
Battle of the Standard in 1138, wherein Malcolm is 
said to have become William Rufus's ' man/ and the 
aforementioned writer thus sums up, ' The best we 
can make of the affair is, that it was a step in those 
arrangements by which the King of Scotland found 
it expedient to hold any land he claimed South of the 
Border through an understanding with the King of 

Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland and West- 
moreland were not included in the Domesday Survey, 
either because they were too desolate, or, as has 
lately been suggested, because they were left as a 
limes or boundary by the Conqueror against the 
northern kingdom, and you must not forget that 
not till past the middle of the twelfth century did 
Scotland renounce her claim to Cumberland and 
Northumberland, for it was not till 1157 that 
Malcolm iv. agreed with his cousin Henry of England 
to give up all claim to Cumbria and Northumberland, 
so that not till this date can we draw the boundary 


between England and Scotland by Solway and 

Henry IL, again, by his thrice-fortunate capture of 
William the Lion at Alnwick, obtained as the price of 
his liberation the ' admission of a complete feudal 
superiority over the Kingdom of Scotland/ This 
was duly set forth in very distinct terms in the 
Treaty of Falaise in 1174, and William had to do 
homage not only for his English possessions, but also 
for Scotland, and all his other possessions. 

But Bichard Coeur de Lion, resolving to 'take 
the Cross,' renounced his claim for homage, and re- 
served only the title to such homage as was anciently 
rendered by Malcolm Canmore. 

' For this renunciation William paid 10,000 marks ; 
a sum which probably assisted in furnishing the 
expenses of Richard's expedition to Palestine.' 

This claim then was revived by Edward I., who 
induced the Scots Lords to recognise himself as Lord 
Paramount before he proceeded to the election of 
Balliol to the Scottish crown. 

It is true that Alexander in. who had married 
Margaret, Edward i.'s sister had done homage 1 to 
Edward for the lands he held of him in England 

1 His words as given in Kymer are : ' Ego Alexander Hex Scotise 
devenio ligeus homo Domini Edwardi Kegis Anglise contra omnes gentes,' 
and Robert de Bruce at Alexander's request swears allegiance for him. 

'Ego Alexander, Kex Scotiae, portabo bonam fidem Domino Edwardo 


(Tynedale and Penrith), but John Balliol did homage 
to him for Scotland, thus acknowledging Edward as 
Lord Paramount. 

Toom Tabard (empty coat) the Scots termed the 
unfortunate John, and so greatly did they mislike his 
lack of patriotism and his ill-luck that many years 
afterwards they insisted upon John, son of Robert IL, 
sinking his baptismal name and assuming as his kingly 
title that of Robert in., wherefore he is sometimes 
alluded to as John Faranyeir or Fernyeir, meaning, 
he who was formerly called John. 

'Now Edward I./ to quote Mr. Andrew Lang, who 
acts as the fairest of umpires on this intricate battle- 
field, 'the greatest of the Plantagenets, the brave 
warrior, the open-handed friend, the true lover, the 
generally far-sighted politician, was not the false and 
cruel monster of early Scottish legend. 

'But he was mortal ; clement by disposition and 
feeling his temper could be stirred into cruelty by 

' He took advantage of Scotland's necessities, and of 
the weaknesses and ambition of the Anglo-Norman 
foreign leaders to drive the hardest of conceivable 

' Having decided the pleas in favour of Balliol, as 

Regi Anglise, et haeredibus suis Eegibus Angliae, servitia, de vita et 
membris, et terreno honore, et fideliter faciam servitia, debita de terris et 
tenementis, quse teneo de Kege Angliee supradicto.' 


was just), it was now in Edward's power to support 
Balliol, and to treat him with generous and states- 
manlike forbearance. 

'To Balliol, the vassal, he was uniformly lenient 
and just ; to Balliol, the King, he was proud and un- 
bending to the last degree.' 

Not satisfied then with suzerainty, Edward was 
determined to make Scotland part of his own 
kingdom. The easiest way to do that was to goad 
Balliol into rebellion, and then to confiscate the 
kingdom of Balliol. ' This was what Edward de- 
liberately did. The result was that, far from winning 
Scotland, Edward converted that nation into a 
dangerous enemy, and presented France with a 
serviceable ally.' 

James I. of Scotland, by his treaty and the marry- 
ing of his daughter Margaret to the French Dauphin 
(afterwards Louis XL), cemented this alliance between 
France and Scotland that had so often proved, and 
was so often through long years to continue to prove, 
so inimical to England. 

Thus two years after this marriage, when Lord 
Scrope was sent to negotiate a peace with Scotland 
on the basis of restoring Berwick and Roxburgh, it 
was urged in the Scots Parliament that peace could 
not be made without the consent of France. 

Death prevented, however, Edward i.'s plans for 


the subjugation of Scotland from being realised ; 
Bannockburn also intervened; and in 1328 by the 
Treaty of Northampton Scottish independence was 
definitely recognised. 

'There was to be perpetual peace between the 
two kingdoms ; the Coronation Stone was to be re- 
stored to Scone (which has never been fulfilled to this 
day), and the King of England was to use his good 
offices at the Papal See to obtain remission from 
excommunication for the King of Scots. 

'The Ragman Roll, being the damning record of 
all the Scottish gentlemen who had done fealty to 
Edward i., was to be returned to Scotland, and also 
that chip of the true Cross which the Scots had 
learned to revere as the Black Rood. 1 

' In return for the surrender of all claim to 
suzerainty on the part of England, the Scottish 
government bound itself to pay 20,000 in three 
instalments at Tweedmouth.' 2 

This final reconciliation was to be consummated 
by the marriage, which took place in the following 
year, between the son of King Robert David n. 
and the Princess Joanna, daughter of Edward in. 

1 The Black Rood was a large crucifix, with figures of St. Mary and 
St. John, of silver ; but a small gold crucifix, probably with a relic of the 
Cross enclosed in it, which had been St. Margaret's, was apparently also 
called the Black Cross or Eood. Both were at Durham. See Bites of 
Durham, ed. Fowler. (Surtees Society, vol. cvii.) 

2 Sir Herbert Maxwell, The Story of the Tweed. 



It needs not to invoke the rnuse, to apostrophise 
Clio, in order to discover who first set afoot the feud, 
or ' blew the coal ' betwixt the English and the Scots. 

Edward I. would doubtless willingly lay claim 
to be the founder, for he certainly hated the Scots 
as much as they hated him. It was owing to 
his policy that the bickerings betwixt English and 
Scots, which had been at first intermittent, and as it 
were merely occasional diversions to the people of 
those days what football matches are to ours, or the 
usual activities of one sovereign against the other's 
realm at a favourable moment, when he was ill or 
abroad grew into ' deadly feud ' and separated the 
two nations as with a fresh vallum or dyke of hatred 
for some three hundred years. 

When Edward died it was on 6th July 1307, near 
Burgh-upon-Sands, by Solway, with his eyes looking 
towards Scotland, fulfilled of anger and longing for 
vengeance * he made his son promise,' writes Sir 
Walter Scott, ' never to make peace with Scotland 
until the nation was subdued. He gave also very 
singular directions concerning the disposal of his 
dead body. He ordered that it should be boiled in 


a cauldron till the flesh parted from the bones, and 
that the bones should be wrapped up in a bull's hide 
and carried at the head of the English Army as often 
as the Scots attempted to recover their freedom. 

1 His son, Edward the Second, did not choose to 
execute the strange injunction, but caused his father 
to be buried in Westminster Abbey ; where his tomb 
is still to be seen, bearing for an inscription : 

'"Edwardus longus Scotorum malleus hie est." 
(Here lies Edward Longshanks, the hammer of the 
Scots.) ' 

Stow in his Annales merely says that the King 
' being himselfe vexed with the bloodie flixe [flux] he 
sent unto his sonne that he should come with speede 
to heare his last wordes whome, among other thinges, 
he did consell to bee merciful, just and constant in 
all his wordes and deedes : he commaunded him not 
to be too hastie to take upon him this Crowne of 
England, untill hee had revenged this doone by the 
Scottes, but rather to staye in those parts, and to 
cause his Father's bones (being closed in a chest) to 
be borne about with him, till he had gone throrow all 
Scotland and overcome his adversaries.' 




' For here be some have pushed as far 
On Scottish ground as to Dunbar ; 
Have drunk the monks of St. Bothan's ale 
And driven the beeves of Lauderdale, 
Harried the wives of Greenlaw's goods 
And given them light to set their hoods.' 


LESLIE in the ' nynt bulk ' of his History of Scotland, 
under date 1531, writes : 

' Quhen the King of Ingland saw that his bordour's 
war in gret danger, gif the Scot's bourdour maid ony 
invasione or onset, cheiflie because the Inglis bordour 
was sa il inhabited, 1 sa few in multitude, and the 
Scotis bordour sa weil inhabited, and in sik multiplie ; 
he consulted with al his estates how to remeid this. 

1 About the same date Sir Robert Bowes, in his Book of the State of the 
Frontiers and Marches, tells us that the ' great occasion of the disorder of 
bothe those Countries [Tyndale and Redesdale] is yt there be mo in- 
habitants within eyther of them, then the said Countries may susteine to 
live trewlie, for upon a ferme of a noble rent there do inhabite in some 
place there iii or iiij householders, etc.' We may conclude perhaps that 
the Scots soil being richer furnished an easier subsistence proportionately to 
the number of its inhabitants and repaid cultivation better than the soil of 
the English Marches. 


His wil was to rais a taxte throuch al Ingland, that 
as the Scotis bordour was well disponet for the 
inhabitouris in hilis and dales, sa mycht the Inglis 
be brocht to the same dis-positioence : bot because 
the Inglishmen war wonnt ay to be frie of custome, 
nawyse wil tha grant that custome to the King, and 
sa nathing was concludet quhat the King requiret.' 

Probably then even in early days the Scottish 
Border was more fertile and better cultivated than 
the English : certainly the great vale of the Tweed 
suggests fertility, in strong contrast to the barrenness 
of the Coquet, Rede and North Tyne. c Scotland 
shows like a fair garden,' said a shepherd in the 
writer's presence not many years ago on the height 
of Windy Gyle, glancing forward to the distant pro- 
spect northward, after viewing the bleak moorland 
behind him that spread away to the water of Coquet. 

To-day lambs will 'make' five shillings more 
through the winter if pastured on the north side of 
the Tweed; potatoes will bring in a greater return 
per ton and wheat per boll when grown upon the 
Scots side of the Border river. 

' The rich old red sandstone is the root cause of it,' 
so a practical Northumbrian farmer, a lessee of many 
acres, assured the writer. 

Again, another advantageous factor for England in 
the spoiling of her ' old enemy ' lay in the comparative 


freedom from intestine feuds amongst the English 

Even on the occasion of a national Scots raid as, 
for example, before the ' Battle of Otterburn,' l when 
' the doughty Douglas bound him to ride 

Into England to drive a prey,' 
the clan Jardine would not go with him. 

' The Jardines would not with him ride 
And they rue it to this day.' 

Scots and English alike were inbred thieves ; but 
the feuds that broke out between the Scots and Kers, 
and Kers and Elliots, and the Maxwells and Johnstones 
must often have sadly hampered their activities, and 
again the heads of the great Scottish clans upon 
the marches were far oftener at variance with their 
sovereign than was the case on the Southern Border, 
for the Scots Borderers in general were very loose in 
their alliance to him whom they termed occasionally 
in contempt ' the King of Fife.' 

Now, surveying the desolations through the 
centuries wrought upon the Border by either side, it 

1 The opening or opportunity offered by the animosity of the great 
Border families may be illustrated from Froissart, who says that the Scots 
raid that terminated in the Battle of Otterburn was due to the quarrel 
between Neville and Percy. 'The Barons and Knights of Scotland 
knowing of this, determined on an inroad to England, as the 
opportunity was favourable, now that the English were quarrelling amongst 
themselves, to make some return for the many insults they had suffered 
from them.' 


may perhaps be asked why the history of the marches 
should possess such a fascination? Why should it 
not be passed by as but a record of the fighting of 
' kites and crows ' ? 

The country itself is very bare in aspect, cold in 
climate, largely uninhabited to this day. Harvestless as 
ocean, it stretches its league-long billows of grey-green 
grass land and brown bent to the uttermost horizon. 
Parched by the harsh winds, cropped by the grey 
mists, and void of trees, wherein lies its fascination ? 

It is because of its very u,ntamed aspect that it 
charms. It is the home of romance, and the wild land 
has been the fruitful mother of a wild, stern chivalry. 

A splendidly hardy, 1 Spartan type of character 
resulted, and the women were not inferior in courage 
to the men. Thus when a Milburn, proceeding to 
settle a little difference in Bellingham with another 
Borderer, called to his wife, * Wife, bring me out a 
clean sark : it sail niver be said that the bluid of 
the Milburns ran down upon foul linen/ she 
promptly obeyed, and stood watching the combat 
with discarded ' sark ' upon her arm. 

Another Milburn of the same ' grayne,' ' Barty of 

1 Cp. Camden on Northumberland in his Britannia, p. 847. (London, 
1695.) ' The country itself is mostly rough and barren, and seems to have 
harden'd the very carcasses of the inhabitants : whom the neighbouring 
Scots have render'd yet more hardy, sometimes inuring them to war, and 
sometimes amicably communicating their customs and way of living.' 


the Comb,' who flourished about the end of the 
seventeenth century, was the hero of a hundred tales. 
The following exploit of his was told to the writer 
by a descendant of the same family. 

One morning as Barty came forth from his Pele 
tower he discovered that his sheep were missing. 
Forthwith he went up to the neighbouring Pele of 
his friend, Corbit Jock, to inform him of the loss. 

' Ay/ said Corbit Jock, * Scotland will ha' them 

So without more words the two friends set off upon 
the 'hot trod.' They travelled on foot down the 
Blakehope burn into Redewater, and so over the 
Carter into Scotland. 

Losing the track of the sheep they determined to 
right themselves by ' lifting ' the best Scots wethers 
they knew of, which were those at Leatham Farm, 
near Souden. There they selected the finest of the 
flock, and set off homewards, driving their booty 
before them. Whereupon the Scotsmen, becoming 
aware of this unexpected raid, sent two of their best 
swordsmen in pursuit. At Chattlehope Spout, Barty 
and Jock were overtaken, and a parley ensued. Barty 
generously offered to give up half of his flock, but 
'toomhanded' he would not return home. The 
Scotsmen, however, would not agree to this, and 
soon swords were swiftly flashing upon the moor. 


'Leave the better man to me/ cried Barty, and two 
desperate duels were at once in full swing. 

The Scots swordsman shortly ran Barty through 
the thigh, but the Englishman, with a sudden wrench 
of his body, succeeded in snapping the sword in two, 
when he was promptly attacked by the second Scot, 
who had already slain his friend Jock. 

Then Barty with a mighty back-handed sweep of 
his sword caught the Scot in the neck, 'garring his 
heid to spang alang the heather like an inion,' and 
then chased his fresh assailant and cut him down 
instantly. He then collected the swords, shouldered 
his dead friend, and drove off all the wethers in front 
of him, and stayed not till he had brought back Jock 
to his own door-cheek and the sheep to his fold. 

The character of the Borderers on either side of 
the march, as they were subject to the same stress 
and similar conditions of life, did not vary greatly, and 
their dialect was almost identical. Froissart gives 
the following account of the Scots Borderers, which 
would probably be also applicable to the English : - 

'The Scots are bold, hardy, and much inured to 
war. When they make their invasions into England, 
they march from twenty to twenty-four leagues * 

1 The editor in a footnote says, ' Whenever English leagues are mentioned 
Lord Berners translates them, and probably correctly, miles : it is in- 
credible that a body of men armed at all points should travel from 60 to 
80 miles a day on horseback, which the Scots must have done, if 
we are here to read leagues.' But it must be pointed out in this con- 
nection that immediately before the above passage of Froissart, it is stated 


without halting, as well by night as by day : for 
they are all on horseback, except the camp followers, 
who are on foot. The knights and esquires are well 
mounted on large bay horses, the common people on 
little galloways. 

' They bring no carriages with them on account of 
the mountains they have to pass in Northumberland : 
neither do they carry with them any provisions of 
bread or wine : for their habits of sobriety are such, 
in time of war, that they will live for a long time on 
flesh half sodden, without bread, and drink the river 
water without wine. They have therefore no occasion 
for pots or pans : for they dress the flesh of their 
cattle in the skins, after they have taken them off : 
and, being sure to find plenty of them in the country 
which they invade, they carry none with them. 
Under the flaps of his saddle, each man carries a 
broad plate of metal : behind the saddle a little bag 
of oatmeal : when they have eaten too much of the 
sodden flesh, and their stomach appears weak and 
empty, they place this plate over the fire, mix with 
water their oatmeal, and when the plate is heated, 

that Carlisle is distant from Newcastle ' 4 and 20 English Leagues,' which 
is incorrect if translated into miles ; again, it may be added that sometimes, 
even in the present age, the followers of the Border Hounds will ride as 
many as sixty miles in the day, and the present writer has left home, and 
returned thither, in the dark, after a prolonged run. The Borderers of 
old rode out of necessity the story of the Charlton Spur (which is still 
treasured at Hesleyside) will recur to the memory and the descendants of 
the ancient 'names,' as the Robsons, Dodds, Elliots, still exhibit the like 
gift of horsemanship and tireless riding. 


they put a little of the paste upon it, and make their 
cake, like a cracknel or biscuit, which they eat to 
warm their stomachs ; it is therefore no wonder that 
they perform a longer day's march than other 
soldiers.' 1 

The following character of ' the Northern Gentry ' 
is taken from Gray's Chorographia* first printed in 
1649 :- 

' The nobility and gentry of the North are of great 
antiquity, and can produce more ancient families 
than any other part of England : many of them 
gentry before the conquest : the rest came in with 
William the Conqueror. The noblemen and gentry 
of the north hath been always imployed in their 
native country, in the warres of the Kings of 
England against the Scots ; all of them holding their 
lands in Knights service, to attend the warres in 
their own persons, with horse and speare, as the 
manner of fighting was in those dayes. 

' Some gentlemen held their lands in cornage 3 by 
blowing a home to give notice that the Scots, their 
enemies, had invaded the land. The Scots, their 

1 P. 18, vol. ii. Froissart. Johnes' translation. (G. Routledge & Sons.) 

2 See p. 67 of Eeprints. (Richardson, Newcastle.) 1813. 

3 Cornage. This is an ancient and picturesque error. Cornage is the O. F. 
cornage the 'droit qui se levait sur les betes a cornes.' As Robertson 
points out in his Historical Essays, ' The tenure of a pastoral state of 
society was Cornage. The herd was numbered, or the flock, the tenth 
animal was set apart as the prerogative of the King or Overlord.' 


neighbouring enemies, hath made the inhabitants of 
Northumberland fierce and hardy, whiles sometimes 
they kept themselves exercised in the warres : being 
a most warre-like nation, and excellent good light 
horsemen, wholly addicting themselves to wars and 
armes, not a gentleman amongst them, that hath not 
his castle or tower : and so it was divided into a 
number of barronies, the lords whereof, in times past, 
before King Edward the First's days, went commonly 
under the name of barons, although some of them 
were of no great living. It was the policy of the 
Kings of England to cherish and maintain martiall 
prowesse among them, in the Marches of the 
Kingdome if it were nothing else, but with an 
honourable bare title. Some gentlemen of the north 
are called to this day Barons/ 

It must not be forgotten that the inhabitants of 
the Border on either side regarded the vocation of 
raiding and reiving as an art, a rougher sort of 

' I would have none think that I call them Thieves ; 
For if I did it would be arrant lies.' 

So Captain Walter Scot of Satchel wrote in the 
seventeenth century of the Armstrongs, and regard- 
ing the Borderer in this wise we need not be con- 
cerned about his fate, for the perfect hunter goes, as 
Gaston de Foix says advisedly, tout droit en paradis. 


' Hunting causeth a man to eschew the 7 deadly 
sins,' so it is written in the book of the Master of 
Game, and again, ' Men are better when riding, more 
just and more understanding, and more alert and 
more at ease, and more undertaking, and better 
knowing of all countries and all passages : in short 
and long all good customs and manners cometh 
thereof, and the health of man and of his soul.' 

Sir Philip Sidney the Bayard of England sans 
peur et sans reproche, that 'very gentle parfit knight/ 
rightly divined the jewel that lay beneath the hard 
aspect of the country and the harsh, nay, often brutal, 
deeds of the ' Borderers dwelland on the marches ' ; 
and Goldsmith wrote thus in his Essays, ' The music 
of the most accomplished singer is dissonance, to what 
I felt when an old dairymaid sang me into tears with 
" Johnie Armstrong's Last Good Night." 

In his deft and memorable words, Sir Philip Sidney 
likened the Border Ballad to the trumpet's sound, as 
he wrote in his Apologie for Poetrie : c Certainly I 
must confess my barbarousness, I never heard the old 
story of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart 
moved more than with a trumpet; and yet it is sung 
but by some blind crowder, with no rougher voice than 
rude style ; which being so evil apparrelled in the dust 
and cobwebs of that uncivil age, what would it work 
trimmed in the gorgeous Eloquence of Pindare f ' 


Sir Philip had stayed upon the Western March as 
a guest at Brougham Castle, and there, it is said, had 
written part of his Arcadia : he may even have seen 
the bale fire on Penrith beacon flame on the mid- 
night sky as it handed on the red warning from 
Skiddaw that the Scots or the ' Batablers ' were 
' riding.' 

Life upon the Borders, during those centuries of 
raiding, to our modern mind no doubt seems un- 
endurable, a monotonous breaking of the Sixth and 
Eighth Commandments. Yet even then there were 
peaceful intervals, it must not be forgotten, when the 
various ' names ' or clans on either march wended their 
way to the high fells with their flocks, and spent their 
spring and summer in pastoral occupations, and would 
converse with each other even as outlying picquets 
of soldiers do when a truce has been proclaimed. 
They got to know each other then : they met also at 
football matches and horse races, and we read of Scots 
and English entering into ' bonds ' for each other at 
Border meetings or days of truce. 

You read of ' Humprey Musgrave ' (Lord Scrope's 
deputy) taking the Laird of Mangerton prisoner in 
his own house in Liddesdale, and bringing him 
prisoner to Carlisle ' to answere what shalbe layd unto 
him.' Then again later you read of a horse race in 
Liddesdale where Humprey Musgrave's horse ' Bay 


Sandforth ' ' ran and won all the 3 bells,' and was 
presently given to the Laird of Mangerton. 1 

The education of the ancient Persians, so Xenophon 
tells us, was devoted to the inculcation of three virtues, 
riding, shooting, and speaking the truth. That 
of the Borderers of old was devoted to a somewhat 
similar Trivium, riding, raiding, and keeping troth. 

The keeping troth meant loyalty to their word, but 
it also included loyalty to their chief or headsman. 

Thus Constable, 2 employed as a spy by Sir Ralph 
Sadler, says that ' they would not care to steal, and 
yet they would not bewray any man that trust in 
them for all the gold in Scotland and France/ And 
again in regard to the Regent Murray, who sur- 
rendered the Earl of Northumberland to Elizabeth, 
and Hector of Harlaw (an Armstrong), who betrayed 
him when he had taken refuge in Scotland after the 
failure of the rising of the North, this same Constable 
reports the indignation of the Borderers, ' some out- 
laws of England, some of Scotland,"* against the 
Regent Murray and Hector of Harlaw as follows : 

' I hard, vox populi, that the Lord Regent would 
not, for his own honor, nor for the honor of his 
country, deliver the Earles, if he had them bo the, 
unless it were to have there Quene delivered to him, 

1 See Calendar of Border Papers, vol. i. pp. 127 and 180. 

2 Sadler, State Papers, vol. ii. pp. 380-95. (Edinburgh, 1809.) 


and if he wold agre to make that change the 
Borderers wold stert up in his contrary, and rescue 
both the Quene and the Lords from him, for the like 
shame was never done in Scotland ; and that he durst 
better eate his owne luggs than come again to seke 
Farneherst ; if he did, he should be fought with ere 
he came over Soutrey edge. Hector of Harlowe's hedd 
was wished to have been eaten among us at supper.' 

A proverbial saying, which dates from this time, 
* to take Hector's cloak/ denoted the infamy of such 
betraying of faith. Froissart also alluded to the same 
faithfulness. ' English and Scots are excellent men 
at arms,' he says, ' and whenever they meet in battle 
they do not spare each other ; nor is there any check 
to their courage so long as the weapons endure. 
When they have well beaten each other, and one 
party is victorious, they are so proud of the conquest 
that they ransom their prisoners instantly, and in such 
courteous manner to those who have been taken, that 
on their departure they return them their thanks.' 

If when the time of payment arrived the prisoner 
was not able to settle with his captor, he would at 
once surrender himself. There is a celebrated instance 
of the loyalty of the follower to his chief in the 
tracking of Starkhed, one of the murderers of Sir 
Robert Ker, the Scottish Warden, at a Border meeting 
in 1511. 


Starkhed fled, it is said, nearly as far south as 
York, and there lived in private and upon his guard. 
'Yet in this place of security he was surprised and 
murdered by two of Sir Robert Kerr's followers, who 
brought his head to their master, by whom, in 
memorial of their vengeance, it was exposed at the 
Cross of Edinburgh.' 

Sir Walter Scott, alluding to this in his introduction 
to Border antiquities, writes : 

' As the Chief was expected to protect his followers, 
in good and evil, from the assaults of their neighbours, 
and even from the pursuit of justice, the followers and 
clansmen were expected, on the other hand, to exhibit 
the deepest marks of devotion to his interest, never 
to scruple at his commands when alive, and in case of 
his death by violence, to avenge him, at whatever 
risk to themselves/ 

Thinking upon these rugged virtues of the wild 
Borderers, we may ' confess our barbarousness/ for 
they developed a type of character which has lasted 
with advantage to the State to the present day. 

Underneath the 'barbarousness' lay the warm 
heart, the set purpose and the firm faith of the 
Borderer, and the fine lines of the great Northum- 
brian poet may well be applied, though written in 
honour of Northumberland, to the whole extent of 
the Borderland. 


' None save our Northmen ever, none but we, 

Met, pledged or fought 

Such foes and friends as Scotland and the sea 
With head so high and equal, strong in glee 

And stern in thought. 

The splendour and the strength of storm and fight 

Sustain the song 

That filled our fathers' hearts with joy to smite, 
To live, to love, to lay down life that right 

Might tread down wrong. 

They warred, they sang, they triumphed and they passed, 

And left us glad 

Here to be born their sons, whose hearts hold fast 
The proud old love no change can overcast, 

No chance leave sad.' 


' The people of this country hath had one barbarous 
custom amongst them : if any two be displeased, they 
expect no law, but bang it out bravely, one and his 

1 ' Deadly feud ' arising originally out of the spirit of clanship and pride 
of family was extended even to cases tried at the assizes out of arrogance 
and brutality. 

Thus Musgrave in a report to Burghley concerning 'Border Eiders' 
(Calendar of Border Papers) says : 

' Hardly deare anie gentlemen of the cuntrey be of any jury of lyfe and 
death yf any of them be indyted, as the justices of that circuit can testefie, 
they are growne so to seke bloode, for they will make a quarrell for the 
death of their grandfather, and they will kyll any of the name they are in 
feade with.' 



kindred against the other and his : they will subject 
themselves to no justice, but in an inhuman and 
barbarous manner, fight and kill one another ; they 
run together clangs (as they tarme it), or names. 
This fighting they call their feides, or deadly feides ; 
a word so barbarous that I cannot explain it in any 
other tongue. 

' Of late since the union of the kingdomes, the 
heathenish bloody custom is repressed, and good 
laws made against such barbarous and unchristian 
misdemeanours and fightings.' 

So wrote Gray of the Northumbrian, but the 
Scottish Borderer obeyed the old Hebraic precept of 
' eye for eye and tooth for tooth ' even more devoutly, 
the 'perfervidum ingenium Scotorum' 1 being peculi- 
arly manifested therein. 

The length to which such a feud might go is well 
illustrated by the mutual hatred of the Johnstone 
and Maxwell clans. 

This feud arose in 1585, when John, Lord Maxwell, 
falling under the displeasure of the Court, was 
denounced rebel, and a commission was given to 

1 Note to Leyden's ' Ode on visiting Flodden ' (Border Minstrelsy, vol. iii., 
Cadell's Edition), where it is written that 'in the Border Counties of 
Scotland, it was formerly customary, whenever any rancorous enmity 
subsisted between two clans, to leave the right hand of male children 
unchristened, that it might deal the more deadly, or, according to the 
popular phrase, "unhallowed blows" to their enemies. By this super- 
stitious rite, they were devoted to bear the family feud, or enmity.' 


the Laird of Johnstone (then Warden) to arrest 

In the fighting that ensued Johnstone's castle of 
Lochwood was burned, and he himself subsequently 
defeated and made prisoner, of which disgrace, it is 
said, he died. 

Maxwell was now made Warden and subscribed a 
bond of alliance with Sir James Johnstone, but in 
1593 the feud broke out again, and at the battle by 
Dryffe Sands, near Lockerby, Johnstone was victorious 
and Maxwell was cruelly slain. Maxwell's son swore 
deep revenge, and in 1608 accomplished his purpose 
by the basest treachery. The murderer fled, but was 
eventually apprehended after his return from France, 
and condemned and beheaded in 1613. 

' Thus,' wrote Sir Walter Scott in the Border 
Minstrelsy (' Lord Maxwell's Good Night '), ' was 
finally ended by a salutary example of severity, the 
foul debate betwixt the Maxwells and Johnstones, 
in the course of which each family lost two chieftains ; 
one dying of a broken heart, one in the field of battle, 
one by assassination, and one by the sword of the 

' Though I have slain the Lord Johnstone, 

What care I for their f eid 1 
My noble mind their wrath disdains, 
He was my Father's deid. 


Both night and day I labour'd oft 

Of him avenged to be ; 
But now I 've got what lang I sought, 

And I may not stay with thee.' 

These family vendettas were an 'unconscionable 
time a-dying ' out, for ' all is dishonorabell/ said 
Alexander Napier in 1600 when offered 1000 by 
Buccleugh, the first Lord Scott, as blood money for 
his brother's slaughter, ' quhair there is not eie for 
eie and tuith for tuith.' 

And finally in 1611, James vi. and I. has to call 
upon the Privy Council the deadly feud between 
Veitches and Tweedies being yet unreconciled to 
summon before them ' the principals of either 
surname/ and force them to agree upon pain of 





THE survey of 1541 sets forth the boundary betwixt 
England and Scotland, and describes the three divisions 
of the Eastern, Middle, and Western Marches, which 
stretched from Berwick to the Hanging Stone on 
Cheviot, from Hanging Stone to Cryssop (or Kershope 
foot), and from Cryssop to Carlisle. 

Thus the Border line ran from the North to the 
Irish Sea, from the river Tweed to Solway, athwart 
' Cheviot's mountain lone,' along the Windy Gyle, 1 
where Warden frequently met Warden (and where 
Lord Francis Russell was slain in 1585 a cairn still 
marking the spot), by the Reidswire at head of the 
Rede (where the famous raid took place in 1575) 

1 The trysting-places of the Wardens of the Marches seem usually to 
have been, for the Eastern March the Hanging Stone on Cheviot or the 
Riding burn ; for the Middle, Hexpeth gate on Windy Gyle or Gambles- 
path slightly farther westward at head of Coquet ; and for the Western, 
Kielder stone and Kershope foot. Cp. Lord Scrope's report, ' Cesford also 
demanded meeting at Gamblespath, instead of Kirshopfoot, the accustomed 
place, and put off justice for five years.' (Calendar of Border Papers.) 


across Catcleugh Shin and broad Carter Fell to Peel 
Fell, beyond Kielder and the mighty Kielder stone 
where the western Wardens met, thence to the 
meeting of the Kershope burn with the Liddle water, 
and so by Esk to the Eden and the ancient Roman 
town of Luguvallum the fair, red-walled town of 
' merry Carlisle.' 

What a host of warlike and romantic memories 
follow upon these names ! 

Berwick-upon-Tweed bone of contention through 
the centuries betwixt English and Scots taken and 
retaken thirteen times, till Edward iv. in 1482 
finally secured it to the English realm jealously 
guarded by the Warden of the Eastern Marches the 
' fairest jewel in her crown,' as Queen Elizabeth styled 
it. Cheviot land and sea mark alike, from whose 
eastern height you can see the storied coast of 
Northumberland with its mighty castles proud 
Bamborough, lonely Dunstanburgh, and a little 
beyond and set within the sea Holy Island and the 
Fames, with their undying memories of saintliness 
and courage. On its western side you can see over 
into Scotland across the dipping hills, and from afar 
descry the purple Eildons in the vale of Tweed so 
beloved by Sir Walter Scott, who dwelt within their 
shadow, the scene of many a Chevy Chase and 
innumerable skirmishes : as also the line of Watling 


Street on its way to Ad Fines Camp at the head of 
Coquet, where the Roman lituus sounded to the 
earlier forays of Roman and Briton against the Picts. 
On again the eye can travel westward in the direction 
of Liddesdale, where the fiercest of the Borderers 
the Elliots and the Armstrongs lived secure within 
their ' swyres,' and finally the imagination will wing 
its way on to high Skiddaw, within whose shadow 
lies Carlisle, whereof the Lord Warden of the Western 
March kept the castle, save when Buccleugh in 1596, 
the date of the last great Border exploit, broke in 
and took thereout ' Kinmont Will ' in despite of the 
Lord Scrope. 

A romantic land indeed, and beyond all others the 
scene of perpetual fightings even from before the 
advent of the Romans right down to 1745, when 
Prince Charlie took for some few weeks ' the red 
town ' into Jacobite keeping. 

We set down here the following description of the 
Borders as given in a draft of Thomas Phillips 1 
(Walsingham's secretary)in Queen Elizabeth's reign: 

'The Borders are the three shires of Northumberland, 
Westmerland and Comberland, which are the parts 
farthest north of England adjoyning uppon Scotland. 
They are devided according to theyr situacion into 
3 marches the est marche, the west marche, the 

1 See Calendar of Border Papers, vol. i. pp, 30-33. 


middle marche. The est marche contayning the part 
of Northomberland which is near unto Scotland on the 
Est side of England, beginning at a place called the 
Hanging Stone at the west end of the Forrest of 
Cheviot, and so coming down by a little rinnel or 
brooke, called Caudgate, which fallyth into the river 
of Till, stretches as the old Borderers of the middle 
marche affirme, from the north side of Bewick 
Lordshippe down the water of Warne to the Warne- 
ford, as the Lordshippes of Bamborough and Alnewick 
are divided. But as the est Borderers say, the river 
of Ale (Aln) maketh the division : which opinion 
semeth presentlye to take place, part of Alnwicke 
lordshipp being numbered with that marche.' 

Sir Robert Bowes in his Report wrote that ' of the 
perfect bounder betwene these two marches I could 
never be certen/ but points out that 'the Lord 
Ewrie/ Warden of the East March, 'clamed from 
the confines of Berwike south-eastward to the water 
of Aile, and so downe that water to the sea to be all 
of the East Marches, and his argument was because 
(as he said) all villages in that quarter were contribu- 
torie to the findinge of the beakne at Lawes Castle. 

' The west marches are the two shires of Comberland 
and Westmorland, beginning, at Carsopp rigg, or as 
the West Borderers and Scottes affirme, at the foote 
of Carsopp or Carsopp rigg, a common passage 


where many spoyles were wont to enter into the 
border, and therefore the jurisdiction for the holle 
refused by the Wardens, because the custom was in 
former times that the same marche wher goods entred, 
should be answerable for them at the day of truce. 

' The middle marches bounded as before on the est 
part, and on the west descending from Carsopp down 
to Poutreshe, 1 and so further as the knowen division 
goes of the shires of Westmorland and Comberland, 
contayneth the rest of Northumberland.' 

There was some doubt as to the precise western 
limit of the Middle March, for, as Sir Robert Bowes 
remarks in his Survey, 2 ' At Carsoppe [Kershope] hath 
been some alteracion or doubt what partye thereof 
is the true meetes or boundes, betwene the west 
marches of England and the middle marches, for 
the Borderers of the middle marches of England 
affirme that the division is at Carsopp rigge or 
Cassenburne [Ghristinbury] cragge, and both the 
Scottes and the Borderers of the west marches of 
England affirme that the bounder betweene ye said 

1 Sir Robert Bowes calls it ' Powtresse ' (Poltross), a burn which runs 
into the Irthing from the south somewhat west of Thirlwall Castle. 

2 It will perhaps be of interest to the reader to know where to find the 
report made of the English Border the Survey in 1550 by Sir Robert 
Bowes which he calls his Informations. This Survey of the Border is 
printed in Hodgson's History of Northumberland, and also from a foolscap 
folio MS. from Sir Cuthbert Sharp's library, in Eeprints, vol. iv. 
(Historical). (Richardson, Newcastle.) 


marches is at the foote of Cassope or Carsope bridge, 
which is a common and waye as well for the theves 
of Tyndall, Bew Castle, and Gillesland in England 
as for the theves of Liddesdale in Scotland with 
there stollen goodes from th' one realm to th' other.' 

In the accompanying map 1 Speed evidently follows 
the opinion of the Borderers of the Middle March, 
for he rounds Northumberland off by Christinbury 
crag, not by Kershope foot. 

From the above and from the musters of the 
East and Middle Marches, as also from the musters 
of Cumberland and Westmoreland made by the 
command of the various Lord Wardens, one gathers 
that for purposes of Border warfare all dwellers in 
Northumberland and Cumberland and at least half 
of those in Westmoreland might be called upon by 
their various Wardens to take part in offensive or 
defensive fighting. 2 

1 Crosses have been added to this map at the generally accepted divisions 
of the marches where the Wardens met. 


It was definitely enacted by the Border Laws, as will be shown later, 
that every man must ' rise and follow the fray, upon blowing of horn, shout, 
or outcry ; upon pain of death ' (Articles revised at Newcastle, sixth year 
of Edward vi.), but from the first apportionment of lordships or manors by 
William the Conqueror military service against the Scots seems to have 
been included in their tenures. 

' The tenants of the several manors were obliged all along, upon firing of 
beacons or other warning, to attend their lord in the service of the Borders 
at their own expense ; which attendance might be prolonged for 40 days. 






Thus the East March from Berwick to the 
Hanging Stone on Cheviot, and southward and 
eastward therefrom to Alnmouth, was liable to be 
mustered by the Warden of the East March. 

The ' cumbersome ' Middle March from Cheviot to 
Kershope foot westward, and southward as far as the 
Tyne together with Hexhamshire and Allendale 
was liable to be mustered by the Warden of the 
Middle March. 

The Tynemouth footmen seem to have been 
excepted, for Sir Robert Bowes reports ' that of late 
yt was ordered that the fottmen within the ye 
Lordshippe of Tynmouth should be attendant upon 
the Castle there, and not to assemble with the 

And according to the value of their respective tenements, some were obliged 
to serve on horseback, and others on foot, with their proper accoutrements. 
Hence there were nag tenements and foot tenements : the owners whereof 
were obliged to furnish their stipulated number respectively, on pain of 
forfeiting their estate to this lord. Within the manor of Bewcastle in 
particular, they seem to have been all nag tenements ; for in the reservation 
of an heriot to the lord upon the death of a tenant, there is an exception 
of the riding horse of every such tenant, kept by him for the lord's service, 
according to various custom.' (Burn and Nicholson, vol. i. p. 8.) Again, in 
the ' Survey of the Debateable and Border Lands adjoining the Kealm of 
Scotland and belonging to the Crown of England, taken in 1604' (printed 
by Sanderson, Alnwick, 1891, from Additional MS. 14,048, British 
Museum), it is stated in the Fifth Article that ' the Tenants of the manor 
of Wark challenge to holde their Tenements by title of Tenante right, 
payinge their rents and doing their services upon the Border, which 
services were to bee at the command of the Keeper to serve in fields on 
horse or foote : for the defence of the Border land in which many of the 
inhabitants have lost their lives ' ; and also in the Ninth Article it is stated 
that ' the freeholders are at the commaunde of the Keeper (of Tynedale) to 
serve in field on horse or foote for the defence of the Border Lands in as 
strick a manner as anie of the customarye Tenants.' 


Warden unlesse yt were for resistannce of an urgent 
daingerous invasion, but the horsemen of that 
Lordshippe should assemble at the commaundement 
of ye Warden and ryde with him as the residue of 
the Countrie do the.' 

As for the Bishopric of Durham, 1 he reports that 
* the nombre that have usuallie bene sent furth of 
the Countrie of Durham for the resistannce of an 
invasion of the enymyes within the east and middle 
marches have bene 1,000 men or thereaboutes, or 
towards an explotic or joineye to be donne in 
Scotland 500 men or thereaboutes. And for the 
assemblie of that releiffe the Warden have used to 
write to the Bishoppe of Durhame (if he were 
dwellinge within the Countrie) and in his absence 
to the Sheriffe and other like officers of the same 

The West March, again, running from Kershope 
foot to Carlisle and the sea westward, and south- 
ward extending as far as Shap and Crosby Bavens- 
worth in Westmoreland, would be mustered by the 
Warden of the Western March. The musters for 
Cumberland, as given in the Calendar of Border 
Papers in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, cover the 
wards of Eskdale, the Leith ward, Cumberland ward 
with the barony of Dalston, and ' Allerdale ward 
1 See Appendix in. 


beneath the water of Darwen' (the Derwent). The 
muster of Allerdale ward above Derwent that is, 
the portion of land lying between the rivers Derwent 
and Duddon and extending by the coast line from 
Workington to Broughton-in-Furness is not given 
with the others in the Border Papers, but it is 
grouped with the others in the return given by Mr. 
Bell, the west Warden clerk. 

In Westmoreland the west and middle wards are 
included in the musters that is, roughly the country 
from Ullswater to the Eden by Appleby, the east 
ward and Kendal ward being apparently exempt. 
We give here the Lord Wharton's Proclamation as 
Warden of the West March in 1547. 


'FORASMUCH as the Governor of Scotland, their 
Queen, and other noblemen of that realm, 
repared to Pebles upon Sunday at night last, 
and also their ordnance coming from Edinburgh, 
of intent with a great army of the whole body 
of the said realm of Scotland to do some enter- 
prize against the King's Majesty's possessions 
and subjects upon their West Marches : THERE- 
FORE, Thos. Wharton Knight, Lord Wharton, 
Lord Warden of the West Marches of England 
for anempst Scotland, captain of the King's 


Majesty's City of Carlisle, and one of his 
Highness's most honourable council, strictly 
chargeth and commandeth in his Majesty's 
name, that all his Highness's subjects, horsemen 
and footmen, within the bounds of the said 
West Marche, prepare their arrediness and 
come forward with 10 days victualls, as hath 
been appointed, so as they may be at Carlisle 
upon Monday next at noon, not failing hereof 
upon pain of death. Written at Carlisle this 
Tuesday the 14th day of June 1547. 


And also : 


In 1584 the musters of the English Borders are 
given in the Border Papers as follows : 



Archers furnished, 1 1400 ; billmen furnished, 1300 ; 
able men unfurnished, 1342. Total, 4042. 


Archers furnished, 1100; billmen furnished, 1200; 
able men unfurnished, 1340. Total, 3640. 

Middle Marches 

Able men certified without mention of furniture, 


1 See Appendix iv. 


East Marches 

Furnished with jack and spear, 827. 
Furnished with spear or lance only, 1347. Total, 


Burgh Barony, Gillesland, Queene Haymes, Eske, 
Leven, Bewcastle, Holme Coltrim, Sark and the 
Debatable ground and Forest of Inglewood provide 
468. And out of the Counties of Westmorland and 
Cumberland, 200. 


Horsemen furnished, 267. 
,, unfurnished, 546. 


Horsemen furnished, 819. 
unfurnished, 1507. 

As to the guardianship of the marches on either 
side it may briefly be summed up as follows : 

On the English Border there would be the garrison 
at Berwick-on-Tweed under the control of the Lord 
Warden, with a captain at Norham Castle and Wark 
as aides; to him the inhabitants on the southern 
side would owe Border service as far as the Hanging 
Stone on Cheviot. The Middle March had its 
separate Warden, who would reside possibly at 
Alnwick, as Sir John Forster, or at Harbottle Castle, 
as Sir Robert Carey, and who was responsible for 


that great extent of country which took in the 
remaining portion of Northumberland. 

His Deputy would probably reside at his own 
house, as did Sir Cuthbert Collingwood at Eslington, 
who was for ever at enmity with his chief, Sir John 
Forster, who held the middle Wardenship so long in 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 

Acting also under the Warden of the Middle March 
would be the Keeper of Tynedale, often a Heron of 
Chipchase Castle (as was the Sir John who was slain 
at the Reids wire in 1575, on occasion of the famous 
Warden's meeting there), and the Keeper of Redes- 
dale, a Hall sometimes or a Reed, as the ' Percy 
Reed/ for instance, of the well-known ballad who was 
murdered for the due discharge of his duty by the 
Croziers and the Halls, who held him at ' deadly feud.' 

At Carlisle the Lord Warden of the Western March 
usually resided in the castle, though Lord Scrope in 
1577 was in residence at Rose Castle, while the great 
' Lord Dacre of the North,' in the time of Henry vin. , 
dwelt at his castle of Naworth. Acting with 
him along the Western March would be his Deputy, 
sometimes a Lowther, whose duty it would be to 
keep the fortress of Rockliffe and protect the embou- 
chures of Esk and Eden, together with his Constable, 
and the Stewards and Bailiffs of various Baronies, the 
Captain of Bewcastle, who was appointed by the 


Crown, and resided with a garrison at Bewcastle 
Castle, whose duty especially it was to stay the men 
of Liddesdale from raiding into England across ' the 

On the Scottish side again the east Warden was 
usually a Hume, residing generally in Hume Castle ; 
the middle Warden was generally a Ker, whether of 
Cessford or Ferniehirst, who frequently also held the 
Provostship of Jedburgh ; while the western Warden 
was as a rule a Johnstone or a Maxwell, residing at 
Loch wood Tower, or Lochmaben, or Caerlaverock 
Castle respectively. He would seem also to have 
had control over Nithsdale, and Galloway, and the 
west part of Teviotdale, and on occasion he appears 
to have held therewith the Provostship of Dumfries. 


As Mr. R. B. Armstrong points out in his inter- 
esting History 1 of Liddesdale, ' the district was gener- 
ally included in the Middle March/ but (owing 
probably to its always having been a distinct lord- 
ship and also on account of the extreme lawless- 
ness of its inhabitants), it was during the greater 
part of the sixteenth century a separate charge, 
under the rule of a Keeper specially appointed by the 

1 History of Liddesdale. (Douglas. Edinburgh, 1883.) 


In the first instance, Liddesdale was ruled by the 
Douglases as hereditary Wardens of the West March ; 
later, when the Keepership was instituted, a Deputy 
was appointed, who seems ex officio to have been 
Captain of Hermitage Castle. 

When the Keepership of Liddesdale had become a 
separate charge, the Lords of Liddesdale were often 
Keepers, as e.g. the Bothwells. Thus Patrick, Earl 
of Bothwell, was Keeper in 1528 ; James, Earl of 
Bothwell, also was Keeper, and resided in Hermitage, 
where, when he lay wounded, Queen Mary rode over 
from Jedburgh to see him. His nephew and suc- 
cessor, Francis, likewise served in this office. Finally 
Buccleugh, first Lord Scott, was appointed Keeper 
by James vi. and allowed rank as Warden. 

It was always very difficult to get justice done for 
Liddesdale, since the fierce Elliots and Armstrongs 
dwelling within their ' swyres ' were as a byke of 
hornets, and apparently from the following letter of 
Scrope's clerk under eight successive Keeperships no 
meeting had been held with the English Warden of 
the West March. ' All theise underwritten as is 
credible enformed, have ben Keepers of Lyddesdaile 
successyvelie, of whom their is nether recorde nor 
memorie so far as I can learne, for any meetinge for 
redres with any the Wardens of the West March as 
Gamelpeth for Lyddesdaill. The Lorde Burthick, 


the Erie Bothwell, the Larde of Cawdor, the Larde 
Trachguars, the Tutor of Petcurr, Mr. Mychell Bow- 
flower, the Lorde Herries, the Larde of Carminghell.' 

Each Warden had his various officers, such as Land 
Serjeants and Water Serjeants (who apprehended 
delinquents and carried instructions), clerks to keep 
the Warden Courts, Setters and Searchers of the 
Watches by the Fords, and lastly his company or 
bodyguard of relatives, and those ' young bloods ' of 
the Border who wished for the excitement and 
experience of fight or raid. 

Some further particulars may here be given of the 
various other Keeperships on the Scots and English 
Borders which were subordinate to the Wardenries, 
as, for example, in the English Middle March Tyne- 
dale and Redesdale, and in the Scots Western March 
Annandale, the Keepership of which was in the hands 
of the Captain of Langholm, 1 ' who lyeth with a 
charge att the Castle of Langam.' 

In Annandale, indeed, as one gathers from the 
orders given in Appendix, No. 11, of the Leges 
Marchiarum, there were various ' Warden deputies/ 
for the House of Annand was to be ' keeped with ane 

1 ' This captaine lyeth with a charge att the Castle of Langam, yf there 
be any breache or great rydinge in Scotland by English Borderers. And 
he is called the Keeper of Annandale : his service opposite against 
Beucastle, Eske and Leven or Bourgh at some tymes.' (' Musgrave's Report 
to Burghley,' Calendar of Border Papers.) 


honest man and wise, and he to be Warden Deputy, 
and to hold with him xvi well-horsed men, and 
the men to be called the Household : for their susten- 
tation every one of them to have 100 m, 4 nithsdale 
bolls of horse-come.' 

Further, it is ordered in regard to the keeping of 
the House of Lochmaben that it ' be keeped by ane 
wise and famous gentleman, and he to have with him 
five well-horsed men, and to be Stewart Deputy/ and 
also that ' the Lairds of Howmaines and Newbie be 
over the Helpers, Assisters, and maintainers of them.' 

Further, the House of Howdam (Hoddam in 
Annandale) was ' to be keeped with ane wise Stout 
man, and to have with him four well-horsed men, and 
these to have 2 stark footmen servants to keep 
their horses, and the principal to have ane stout 
footman. . . .' 

The continual unrest and the constant thievery in 
Annandale can be easily gauged by the appointment 
of these various officers, Stewart-deputes, Warden- 
deputes, Constables, Chamberlains and Captains. 

On the English Border also we read of various 
subordinate officers, such as Constables, Land Ser- 
jeants and Captains. These Land Serjeants were the 
Warden's officers, whose chief duty seems to have 
been to apprehend thieves and fugitives in readiness 
for a Warden's Court or ' Day of March,' while the 


' Water Keepers/ Water Bailiffs and Water Serjeants 
were bound to keep the ' entrance of all men without 
lycence out of either marche/ and had 'libertie at 
all tymes to enter the marches without licence, and 
to carry messages or letters betwixt the Wardens/ 

In the case of the Land Serjeant of Gilsland, how- 
ever, of whom frequent mention is made, more 
important duties were attached to this particular 

Originally he seems to have been Chief Steward or 
Bailiff to the Lord of Gilsland, but when Queen 
Elizabeth took away from Lord William Howard and 
his wife (Lady Elizabeth Dacre 1 ' Bessie wi' the braid 
apron') the baronies of Burgh, Graystock and Gilsland, 
it was urged that Gilsland should be put upon the 
same footing as Bewcastle captaincy, which was a 
Crown appointment. 

The following account of the Land Serjeants of 
Gilsland is taken from Thomas Carleton's report 
thereon in 1577 to Lord Burghley. (Calendar of 
Border Papers.) 

' The Land Serjeaunt, then but a particular servaunt 
to the Lord Dacre, having in his absence the 

1 ' Ultimately in 1601, the Queen permitted the sisters (the Ladies 
Dacre, co-heiresses of the last Lord Dacre, who had been married to the 
Earl of Arundel and Lord William Howard, respectively), to buy back 
their lands by a payment of some 10,000 each, and the long lawsuit was 
ended to the profit of the royal coffers.' 


commaund and government of that whole barony of 
Gilsland, having for his maintennance the better to 
discharge that government, his chamber, stable, horse- 
meat, allowannce for his men, all the Lord's household 
servaunts, allwayes at the fewest 24 or 30, able and 
well-horsed men, at his call and commaundement. 
The land serjeaunt his dew fee for that office only five 
pounds, and his lord and masters countenannce, which 
was more than all the rest.' Apparently he (Thomas 
Carleton, Land Serjeant) lived at Askerton, ' a house of 
good strength and defence, and the only house in 
Gilsland fit for the land Serjeant to dwell in.' 1 

As for the Captaincy of Bewcastle, we quote the 
following from the auditor's report to Cecil in Queen 
Elizabeth's reign. ' Her Majesty in her 32nd year, 
granted to Sir Simon Musgrave Knight, and Thomas 
Musgrave his son for the term of their 2 lives, 
Plumpton Park, with all rents, etc., being 168, 7s. Od. 
per annum absque compoto seu aliquo inde reddendo. 
And, as I take it, they have moreover as incident and 
belonging to the said office of Captain of Bewcastle, 
all the rentes, demeane landes and tithes of Bewcastle, 
which I have hard to be better worth than 100 a 

Thus the auditor to Cecil. 

1 Border Papers, vol. ii. p. 575. 

Reproduced from Arc/uzologia, Vol. XX II., 


ind permission of the Society oj Antiquaries. 




'Dictua ager nunc variabilis, nunc litigiosus, nunc terra contentiosa 
vocari solitus, coinmuni vero utriusque gentis vocabulo nuncupatur.' 

KYMER, Foedera. 

The very extent of the ' Debatable Land ' seems 
to be 'debatable,' for various are the dimensions 
assigned to it ; the measurement most commonly 
given is that of eight miles long by four broad, and 
the content of it the land that lay between the 
rivers of Sark l and Esk stretching from the Sol way 
up to Kirkandrews, close to Canonby. 

Yet Lord Dacre in 1550, two years before the 
division, reports as Warden of the English Western 
March that he thought it advisable 'for the better 
maintenance of the king's title and interest of the 
Debateable Land to go over the same water [of Sark] 
into the same Rateable, before we either demanded, or 
granted any assurance/ Now as the meeting was 
appointed at Lochmabenstone, which is beside Solway 
in Dumfriesshire, near to Gretna Green, it is clear 
that Lord Dacre did not limit its extent to the lines 
of the Esk and Sark rivers. 

The ancient extent of the Debatable Ground 

1 Viz. the White Sark ; a small confluent that flows into Sark by 
Solway Moss is termed the Black Sark. 


before the division is thus given by Burn and 
Nicholson, vol. i. p. 16, from boundaries as set forth 
in an old roll. ' Beginning at the foot of the White 
Scyrke running into the sea, and so up the said water 
of Scyrke, till it come to a place called the Pyngil- 
burne foot running into the said water of Scyrke, and 
up the Pyngilburne till it come to Pyngilburne know, 
from thence to the Righeads, from the Righeads to 
the Monke Rilande Burne, and from thence down 
Hawenburne till it fall in Eske, and through Eske to 
the foot of Terras, and so up Terras to the foot of 
Reygill, and up the R-eygill to the Tophous, and so 
to the standing stone, and to the Mearburne head 
and down Mearburne to it fall in Lyddal at the 
Rutterford, and down Lyddal to it fall in Eske, and 
down Eske to it fall in the sea.' 

They add, ' it was in length 8 computed miles 
of the country and in breadth 4 miles/ but from 
where the Sark flows into Solway to Raegill [Reygill] 
is nearly ten miles, and the breadth from Raegill to 
the Rutterford on Liddel is not far from five miles, 
and this would seem to be the more correct com- 
putation, for after the division between England and 
Scotland the English portion measuring by Blaeu's 
map from west to east from Sark to Esk is some 
three and three-quarter miles, and in length by the 
Esk to the Solway is some four and a quarter miles. 


In the survey of 'the Debat cable 1 and Border Lands 
adjoining the Realm of Scotland/ taken for James i. 
in 1604, there is 'an Abreviate of the Survey of the 
King's mat 8 lands, called the Debateable lands, in- 
habited by the Grahams, belonginge to and lyinge 
within ye Realme of Englande ; the w ch are bounded 
by ye river of Sark on the west, the Scotishe dike on 
the North (bothe wch are marches and bounders 
betwixt ye 2 realms of Englande and Scotland), the 
ryver of Eske upon the East, and an arme of the 
sea upon ye South, wch is called Selwaie Sands. 
The wch ground extendeth in circuit 21 miles, in 
length 5, and in breadth neere 3 miles, and 
conteyneth 7 '4 03 acres accordinge to Statute 

Again, there is printed in Armstrong's History of 
Liddesdale a very interesting document in which, by 
the way, the extent is set down as ten miles by four, 
entitled, ' A Rememberance of an order for the De- 
batable Lannde, if the sayme shalbe thoght goode, to 
the Prynce of bothe the reallmys of Inglande and 
Scotlannde by the Wardans of the weste Marches of 
Inglannde annde Scotlannde, withe the full advyse 
and opeanyon of dyvers gentlemen Borderers off 
bothe the sayde west marches, as the articullys off 
the same insewethe' in 1537. 

1 Additional MS., British Museum. See note p. 43 above 


From this we learn that previously to the division 
the custom had been for both Scots and English to 
pasture their several cattle thereon 'for bytt off 
mouthe betwene son and son/ viz. from sunrise to 
set, and ' withe owtt a stobe or stake, 1 ' that is, with- 
out setting up any residence therein. 

But Scots and English alike had come ' to hold stob 
and staik ' therein, and when they who were inclined 
to England were molested by the Scots Warden the 
English Warden naturally took upon himself their 
protection. Thus, when Lord Maxwell threatened 
to raze Sandie Armstrong's house with gunpowder, 
Lord Dacre heaped peats and turfs within and 
about it and set them on fire to prevent the other's 

This ancient custom in regard to the disputed tract 
is fully set out by the English Warden, Lord Dacre, 
in his letter to the Scots Privy Council, 6th July 
1517 :- 

' My Lords there is a grounde called the Debatable 
grounde, lyeing betwene the realme of England and 
Scotland, wherein there is no strife for the boundes 
of the same ; but it is wele knowne by the subjects 
of bothe the realmes, and allweyes has been used and 
accustumed to pasture upon the same grounde with 

1 See Jamieson, Scottish Dictionary, 'Stob and staik to hold stob and 
staik in any place, to have one's permanent residence there.' 


bit of mouthe, from the sonne rising to the sonne 
setting, withal] manner of cattell, for the subjects of 
bothe the realmes. 

' And if any subject of ayther realme wilfully will 
stub or stake, or kepe any cattell under cover of 
night, it is and always has bene at the likkes of the 
Wardenis, lieutenants and subjects of ayther realme, 
fyndering them greved, to brenne, destroye, waiste, 
take and drive awey all suche goods and cattell as 
there shalbe founde so wilfully kept under cover of 

'And if it fortune any of the subjects of ayther 
realme soo wilfully keping there goodes and catells 
under cover of night upon the same Debatable 
grounde, shall not forfaite there goods taken upon 
the daylight, as afore said, but it is leyful to brenne 
the houses and to take the goods and catelles and 
persons prisoners being within the house upon the 
daye light. 

' And if the men and goodes got owt of the houses 
upon the said Debatable grounde, they are fre, and 
no forfaite made, but the howses to be brent, and the 
goods within them to be forfaiete. 

' And if it fortune any subjects of ayther realme to 
carie awey any of the said houses, or any wodde, gres, 
or corne growing upon the said Debatable grounde, 
lyeing upon wanes, carts, or horse bakks, takin with 
the cariage upon them, within the Debatable grounde, 
is forfaiete to that subject that so arrests them. But 
if so be that the cariage be out of the wane, carte or 


horsebakks or the seisure be made, then there is no 
forfaicte done.' 

Now as the English Warden insisted upon claiming 
the land in question as English, and the Scots 
Warden stoutly resisted the claim, a deadlock ensued. 
' For neither will I,' wrote Lord Dacre in 1550 to the 
Privy Council, 'suffer the Warden of Scotland to 
answer for it, because I will not allow it to be 
Scotland, nor will they on the contrary consent 
that it shall be England.' Finally, when several 
' Batablers,' such as Sandie Armstrong, and several of 
the brethren and sons of Richard Greyme, and divers 
others, had threatened to turn Scots unless England 
would definitely ' aid them as occasion required ' ' a 
loss to England and a continual source of disorder on 
the marches ' a division of the ' variable ground ' 
was finally agreed to. 

The following is the reference to this disputed 
ground in the Leges Marchiarum, three years before 
the division. 

By the indenture of 1549 in the reign of 
Edward vi. 'it was covenanted, concorded and con- 
cluded, that the land variable, common of both the 
People, called the Debateable ground, which lieth 
between the west marches of England and Scotland, 
shall be put and set in the same estate, and shall 


remain (inasmuch as belongeth to the use thereof), 
even as it hath been accustomed to be, and was 
before the beginning of the wars. 

' So as the Lieges and Subjects of both the Realms, 
now inhabiting or having houses upon the said 
Debateable ground, may have power and liberty 
(until the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel next 
coming, after the date hereof) to dwell there, without 
Prejudice of this Article, and to use and enjoy the 
same, during such space of time they may to their 
best Commodity remove themselves, their wives 
and Children, goods and Cattel, and other their 
things (every of them) into his own country ; unless 
it be otherwise in the mean time, of the said Variable 
Ground, by good ways and means agreed and con- 
cluded between the Priners aforesaid. And, after 
the said Feast, if any of either country of the said 
, Inhabitants do in anything contrary to this Article, 
then (by the Warden or his Deputy, without respect), 
they shall be thrown out and duly punished therefore, 
according to the Laws of Marche. 

'Provided, that whosoever refuseth to obey the 
Commandments of the Wardens of both Marches 
aforesaid, and the Covenants taken by common 
consent for the good rule thereof, that they occupy 
not the Privileges of the small delay aforesaid.' 1 

1 Leges Marchiarum. 


Finally, then, it was agreed upon between the two 
realms that there should be a division of the variable 
ground between England and Scotland by the 
Lord Wharton and Sir Thomas Challoner on the part 
of the King of England, and Sir James Douglas of 
Drumlangrig and Richard Maitland of Lethington 
on the part of the Queen of Scotland. 

These Commissioners, assisted by an envoy from 
France, 'made their award Sept. 24th, 1552, setting 
forth, that whereas the inhabitants of the western 
part inclined more to be subjects of England, and 
the inhabitants of the eastern part inclined more to 
be subjects of Scotland, they therefore award the 
western part of the said debateable land to the King 
of England, and the eastern part thereof to the Queen 
of Scotland ; to be divided by a line drawn across 
from Esk to Sark and a square stone set up at each 
end with the arms of England on the west thereof, 
and the arms of Scotland on the east side.' 1 

And thus the ' terra contentiosa ' of old time 
' the sewer of abandoned men who, freed from the 
fear of punishment or laws, lived by theft and spoil ' 
was divided for all time between England and Scotland 
England obtaining the western portion or parish 
of Kirkandrews and Scotland the eastern or parish of 
Canonby. 2 

1 History of Cumberland and Westmorland, vol. i. p. IxxxL 

2 In sundry ' articles concerning the Monastery of Canonby holm in the 


The following quotation from Rymer's Foedera 
will show with what care the delimitation was 
carried out. 

' Ac ut melius et certius pars haec occidentalis ab 
altera discernatur, conventum et conclusum est inter 
nos commissaries et deputatos praefatos, ut in ipso 
utrius partis discrimine, trames linearis rectus trans- 
versim ab Esk ad Sark fluvium ducatur, fossa vel 
sulco vestigium ipsius denotante; ac praeterea, 
singulae pyramides lapide quadrato singulis ipsorum 
Esk et Sark fluviorum ripis interius imponantur, in 
ipsis potissimum (quoad ejus fieri potest) locorum 
punctis construendae ac collocandae ubi linea seu 
trames ille transversus hac iliac extendetur. Quos 
quidem locos, quo planius dinoscantur, et si quo 
vetustatis aut doli mali vitio pyramides corruerint, 
nihilo secus locorum vestigia ad ipsarum reparationem 
innotescant, in hunc modum hinc describendos puta- 
vimus: Locus igitur pyramidi Esk Jluvii ripae im- 
ponendae is esto, ubi Jluvii ipsius cursus sinuose 
incurvatus est, ad campi ejusdem (vulgari sermone 
vocati Dimmis. Daill) latus occidentale qua torrens 
seu rivulus quidam vicinus (vernacule nuncupatus 
Dimmis-daill syke) in fluvium jam dictum praecipitat. 

North cuntre to prove yt to be Englishe and not Scottishe,' in 1531 the 
prior is said to pay ' to the handes of the Captain of the Castell of Carlill ' 
xiiis. ivd. This, the English insisted, was rent, but the Scots replied that 
it was ' for custome of the inhabitants within Cannonby.' See Armstrong, 
Liddcsdalc, p. xxxii. 


' Similiter, pyramidi SarJc fluvii quae imponetur 
ripae is esto locus, qui clivo rubro situs est, e regione 
loci vocati Kirkrigg in Scotia paulum supra le 
Eatgyw. ubi vicissim Sark fluvii alveolus in sinus 

Upon these pyramids the arms or badges of the 
said sovereigns were to be sculptured ; ' ita scilicet, 
ut quod latus utriusque pyramidis quod occidentem 
spectat, dicti serenissimi Angliae regis insigniatur 
armis, quodque orientem respicit praefatae illustris- 
simae reginae Scotiae armis condecoretur : atque in 
hunc modum honori principum bene de patria 
meritorum, turn etiam commodo rudioris populi, quo 
melius ex istis signis divisionis hujus discrimina 
percipiant, consultum esto.' 

It might be mentioned in this connection that 
there were along the Border certain small 'threap 
lands/ ' debateable,' or disputed tracts, which seem 
to have remained doubtful even up to the time of the 
Ordnance Survey. Thus from Phillips's memorandum 
quoted above, we learn that there were in the East 
March 'three parcels' of ground in dispute, as, for 
example, ' the mid rigg [of 100 acres] lying nere 
to the cornefeldes of Warke and Carram quietlie 
occupied and plowed by the tenantes of Carram till 
Flodden Feld, at what time the decay of the Castle 
of Warke caused the decaye of the towns of Carram 


and Warke, so as it lay unplowed but occupied as 
pasture by the tenantes of the said townes till anno 
30 of Henry vm. that they did sow it with otes, 
which the Wardens of the East and Middle marches 
of Scotland by theyr Kinges commandment, as the 
Scots affirme, with a great power destroyed, challeng- 
ing the same ground to be in plea between the realmes 
and therefore to be pastured uppon by both, as it 
hath continued ever since.' 

And again, there seems also to have been a de- 
batable ' Fish garth ' on the Esk, which is specially 
mentioned in sundry treaties of Henry vii. and 
vm. , and set on one side or exempted as a source 
of quarrel between England and Scotland. 

' Si rumpat vel distruat eundem, pro non attemptato 
reputabitur, et nihilominus alia attemptata quae- 
cumque reparabuntur sic quod Eeparatio aut Des- 
tructio dictae le Fisshe garthe non impediet Re- 
formationem aliorum attemptatorum nee introducet 
Ruptionem praesentis Pacis seu con federations. ' 
(Rymer, Foedera.) 






'Now, in the legends of Mabel, the Scottish nation was ever freshly 
remembered, with all the embittered declamation of which the narrator 
was capable. 

' The inhabitants of the opposite frontier served in her narratives to fill 
up the parts which ogres and giants with seven-leagued boots occupy in 
the ordinary nursery tales. 

' And how could it be otherwise 1 

' Was it not the Black Douglas who slew with his own hand the heir of 
the Osbaldistone family the day after he took possession of his estate, sur- 
prising him and his vassals while solemnising a feast suited to the occasion ? 

' Was it not Wat the Devil who drove off all the year-old hogs off the 
braes of Lanthorn side, in the very recent days of my grandfather's father ? ' 


IN Bishop Nicholson's Collection of Leges Marchi- 
arum the first statutes given are those said to be 
drawn up by twelve English knights and twelve 
Scots knights in the reign of Henry in., 1249, 
presided over by the Sheriff of Northumberland 
and the Sheriffs of Berwick and Roxburgh re- 

The first name on the English side is that of 
Robertus de Clifford, but as Robertus de Clifford 


was not born till 1273, Burn and Nicholson conclude 
from this and other internal evidence, as, for example, 
the absence of the names of either king, that it is a 
manifest Scots forgery, the occasion of which might 
lie in the destruction of all the Scottish records by 
Edward i., and the consequent desire to create a 
document to prove their country's independence at 
a time when it was denied by England. It should 
be noted, however, that the editor of the Acts of the 
Parliament of Scotland writes as follows in his 
preface (vol. i. p. 43, red ink numerals) concerning 
the Act : 

' It is here printed without alteration from the Berne 
MS., a nearly contemporary authority. It is found 
in many of the law manuscripts, and forms the first 
of a curious collection of Border Papers in the State 
Paper Office. 

' The copies used by Bishop Nicholson must have 
been very faulty.' 

The Act itself is headed as follows : 

'The year of grace 1249 gadderit togidder at the 
Merchis the Shereff of Northumberland for kingis' 
party of ingland and the Sherefs of Berwick, 
Roxburgh and Edinburgh on the kingis' party of 
Scotland for to know the lawis and the customs of 
the merchis be xii knychtis of ingland and 12 
knychtis of Scotland.' 


And further, Dr. Neilson writes thus to the 
author : 

' For my part I take the confusion of witnesses 
with a light heart. The imputation of forgery is at 
the very worst only an extreme form of saying that 
the witnesses are not easily possible at any one time, 
but this is no unusual thing : a conflate text is often 
found in the Middle Ages and witnesses get run 
together when there is no doubt that the actual 
document itself is genuine and beyond challenge. 
So for my part I take the confusion of witnesses to 
the Leges with a light heart.' 

We now give a translation of these first Border 
Statutes as printed by Bishop Nicholson in his Leges 

' In the year of grace one thousand two hundred 
and forty-nine on the festival of Saints Tiburtius and 
Valerianus there came to the marches for the purpose 
of founding and observing the Laws of the Marches 
the Sheriff of Northumberland on the part of the 
Lord the King of England and on the part of the 
Lord the King of Scotland the Sheriffs of Berwick 
and Roxborough that the laws and customs of the 
marches might be acknowledged by twelve knights 
of England and twelve of Scotland under firm 










Mayor de Berwick. 

Here follow the statutes of the said four and 
twenty knights. (To make up the number of twenty- 
four knights one must suppose that the Sheriff of 
Northumberland and the Sheriff of Berwick or 
Roxburgh also swore.) 

* Firstly, all of these twenty-four asserted together, 
that if any evil-doer dwelling in Scotland, whether 
man or woman, whether a feudal tenant or not, shall 
have been guilty of homicide or any other offence 
whereby debate or contest may arise, he shall be 
tried therefore only on the march of either realm. 

' If the defendant dwell beyond Rede he shall be 
tried at Ridingeburn. 1 Redesdale and Coquetdale 
must be tried at Campaspeth according to the laws 
and customs in use between the two realms. 

1 The Reddanburn, which flows into Tweed from the south beyond 
Carham, and some six miles west of Coldstream. ' Gammel's path ' (the 
old path, cp. Danish gammel), as marked on the Ordnance Survey, is the track 
of the old Roman road that led up from Bremenium (High Rochester) Camp 
to Ad Fines Camp (Chew green), at the head of Coquet. 


' Secondly, they asserted that all men between 
Totnais (Totness) in England and Caithness in Scot- 
land can rightly according to the customs of the said 
realms be called to the Marches for combat, with the 
exception of the persons of the Kings of the said realms 
and of the Bishops of Saint Andrew and Dunkeld. 1 

' Thirdly, they asserted unanimously that if any one 
whether vassal or bondsman of Scotland shall have 
fled within the realm of England, with or without 
his cattle, wishing thus to escape from his Lord, he 
must be brought back to Scotland if he is prosecuted 
within forty days after crossing the Marches by his 
lord or bailiff without any hindrance on the part 
of England on oath given, and, conversely, the like to 
hold good of an English fugitive. 

' But if the lord prosecute not within forty days he 
shall never recover his man except by warrant from 
the King in whose realm he has sought refuge. 

'And if after forty days he is found within the 
realm which he left he may be taken, unless he is a 
bondsman, 2 by his lord on the oath of six men in 
addition to his lord's. 

'Fourthly, they asserted, that if any native 3 of 

1 The Acts of Parliament of Scotland, vol. i. p. 414, etc., give ' Donel- 
mensis' and ' Duresme,' sections 2 and 5. 

2 Nisi fuerit nativus. The Rev. G. Ridpath, commenting on this in his 
Border History, suggests that in the case of a bondsman his lord's oath was 
not necessary. 

3 Natvovs, translated here as ' native.' 


England or Scotland shall be accused of debt he shall 
provide a pledge for forty-five days by means of 
inbrocht wood and utbrocht wood 1 (sureties of his own, 
and the other, realm), and they shall redeem the 
debt within the next fifteen days. And if by then 
the debtor shall not have paid this off his pledge may 
be taken and held until full satisfaction shall have 
been given for his debt. 

' But if he denies the debt he shall clear himself at 
the Marches within fifteen days by the oath of seven 
men, his own included. And the same, if the debtor 
shall make default, holds good in regard to the 

' If he acknowledges his debt and has no goods 
wherewith to pay he shall purge himself by his oath 
on the ground that he has no more in goods than five 
shillings and fourpence, and further shall swear that 
he will pay his debt as soon as he shall save or obtain 
the amount, his food alone being immune. 

' Fifthly, they asserted that all accusers on either 
side shall swear for themselves, except only the two 
kings and their heirs, and the Bishops of Saint 
Andrews and Dunkeld. 

' For the King of England, his standard-bearer and 
his constable shall swear. In the same way for the 
King of Scotland and the Lord Bishop of Saint 

1 Wood = wed (vadium), a pledge. 


Andrews the presbyter of Weddle shall swear, 1 
and for the Lord Bishop of Dunkeld the Prior of 
the Isle. 

' Sixthly r , they asserted that no one can act by 
attorney in making oath at the Marches in a quarrel 
wherein life and limbs are involved save only with the 
consent of either party. The two kings and bishops 
only being excepted, as above said. Default will 
invalidate the cause forever whether for prosecutor 
or defendant. 

' Seventhly, they asserted that if a quarrel takes 
place on the Marches between the two countries and 
this between a prosecutor and defendant on a matter 
of life and limb, then, supposing that the defendant 
shall have died within fifteen days, within the 
statutory time, his body shall be brought to the 
Marches at the day and place within the appointed 
parts, since no man can be essoigned by death. 2 

1 Wedhall or Wedale. He was the bishop's vicar in that parish, so the 
Rev. H. A. Wilson of Oxford kindly informs me, also that the Insula (isle) 
mentioned was probably Inchcolm, which was a priory till 1235 or later, 
and had a close connection with the early Bishops of Dunkeld. Ridpath in 
his History suggests Lochleven. 

2 Even so late as 1597 we hear of a pledge's body being brought though 
a corpse to the march. 

In Sir William Bowes's ' Declaration from Barwicke, Oct. 9, 1597,' it is 
stated that at the meeting of the Commissioners of both realms for delivery 
of pledges at the next ford near Norham, ' Sir William pressed their receipt 
of the Englishe pledges all there presente, though one of the number were 
dead, yet was he brought and presented to the place.' See Calendar of 
Border Papers, vol. ii. 


'And if the prosecutor delaying shall not have 
appeared at the same appointed time, the defendant 
must make his way to the Marches and must take 
the pledge of Wardsheill 1 (trial by combat, hand- 


So the passage runs in Bishop Nicholson's Leges Marchiarum, but in 
the Acts of the Parliament of Scotland (see vol. i. p. 414, red ink numerals, 
Record Edition), these words are given : ' Debet accipe-handwarsil de 
tribus baronibus ' ; and opposite them this translation : ' And the appellour 
cum nocht to the merchis at the day set the party dependant sail gang 
to the merchis and tak thair 3 borowis [sureties] that is to wit 3 men 
witnessing that he then sufficientlie at day set apperit and that provit be 
thame of that clarne he sail gang quite for evermair.' 

Thus ' Wardshiell ' or 'handwarsil' seems to mean wager of battle 

' (cp. the Border word warsil warsell still in use), and the plain meaning 

seems to be that the defendant having attended at the fighting ground and 

finding the appellant not there should be quit of the claim against him for 

ever after if he took three witnesses of his due presence there. 

Furthermore, as Dr. Neilson points out in his Trial by Combat, ' If any 
of these witnesses proved a backslider by refusing his evidence afterwards, 
if the last claim happened to be renewed, the person aggrieved might bring 
defective memory to task by fighting any one of the witnesses, or, if need 
be, all the 3.' 

There is a further reference to this term Handwarsil or ' Handwarcel ' 
mentioned in the case of one Henry Scot in the Calendar of Documents 
relating to Scotland (vol. ii. p. 59), and is there indexed as Handwarcelle, a 
March custom in Cumberland after a robbery. This document was so much 
mutilated that it was difficult to make out the real procedure involved, for 
it appears from one passage that the appellant might, if he liked, pursue 
the robber at common law. 

On this occasion it was the king himself who, desiring to have justice 
done in the case of tins Henry Scot (who had professed, and was ready to 
place himself on the country and to purge his innocence), commanded 
' the Sheriff to keep the matter in statu quo till his next arrival in these 
parts, and then to assemble a jury of the county to enquire into the law 
and custom of the March.' 

An Inquisition was held at Carlisle in the eighth year of Edward i. before 
certain knights, the mayor and sundry citizens, 'who say, respecting the 
laws and customs in use in Cumberland, that from a time whereof no 
memory exists, if any robber in the kingdom of . . ., he must quickly 
within the day or night after the robbery, according to the distance of the 


warsil), from three Barons to testify that he has 
properly appeared on his day. And this being 
approved by them he shall be forever freed from that 
charge. And if by chance any one of the three refuse 
to testify he may have a combat. The same rule 
applies to the prosecutor. 

'Eighthly, they asserted, that if any Scots thief 
shall have stolen a horse in England, or oxen, or cows 
or anything else and leads the same away into Scot- 
land the owner, in whatsoever place he finds his gear, 
shall recover it in the Court of the Feudal Lordship 
where he has found his gear. 

' And this he shall recover in the aforesaid Court by 
the oath of six men his own making the seventh 
unless it chance that he who retains the gear says it 

place where committed [go to ?] Brunscaythe on the English side, and to 
Rocheland on the Scottish side, and there publish to them the robbery 
committed on him, and have his evidence. . . . 

' And if he finds him within 40 days, he must sue him according to the 
law and custom of the March, as follows : a writ from the Sheriff of 
Cumberland to the King of Scotland's Sheriff of Dumfries, that he let him 
have " Handwarcelle " regarding the robbery (?). . ., that he answer to him 
on whom the robbery was committed, and defend himself by his hand.' 
Part of another section runs, ' And he who is of the English realm shall 
have a lance, a sword, and a targe, if he wishes.' 

This would correspond with the ordinary law of England at that time. 
See Forsy th, 206, who says, ' In the time of Bracton (middle of the thirteenth 
century), the usual mode of determining innocence or guilt was by combat 
or appeal. But in most cases the appellant had the option of either fight- 
ing with his adversary or putting himself on his country for trial' The 
exceptions being murder by secret poisoning, and certain circumstances 
presumed by the law to be conclusive of guilt. See article, 'Jury,' in 
vol. xv., Encyclopcedia Britannica, Cambridge Edition. 



is his own, in which case a contest may issue on the 

' Ninethly, they asserted that if any one shall be 
indicted whether Scots or English for life and 
limbs at the Marches on a charge of robbery, theft or 
homicide, the pledges if the defendant is worsted in 
contest shall not be responsible for more than the 
amount set forth by the prosecutor in his claim. 

' Tenthly, they asserted, that if any evil-doer, who 
has entered into any part of the other realm, shall 
there wish to have peace he shall have it from those 
who can give it, namely, from the High Sheriff, and 
if by chance he cannot find the High Sheriff, he can 
receive peace at the first church the bells being rung 
and there he shall be in peace until he shall have 
peace through the High Sheriff. And if before he 
has peace he is apprehended he shall be led off 
without any hindrance. 

'Eleventhly, they asserted, that if any one shall claim 
any mare, ox, cow or pig, or any other animal in 
either England or Scotland, as his own he shall have 
the benefit of all the delays agreed upon between the 
realms and the full term of days in the cause. If he 
shall wish to come off without fighting, and finds that 
the gear is not his own, he shall on the appointed day 
drive it back to the Marches, and send word to the 
party against whom he claimed the gear that the 


horse is his and shall drive it into the water of Tweed 
or Esk. 1 

' And the defendant shall be quit of that claim or 
charge. If the animal is drowned before it has 
crossed the stream of water (mid-stream) he shall be 
responsible for it according to March custom, and the 
same holds good of an ox, cow or pig or anything else, 
save baggage, of which there is no mention. 

' Twelfthly, they asserted, that no Englishman can 
test an accused Scot by means of witnesses the 
converse also holding good save only by the body of 
a man, and thus many 2 contests can arise in the 
disputes that have occurred or are likely to occur 
between the marches. 

' Thirteenthly , it must be known that if any one 
happens to be in the realm of England or Scotland, 
or conversely, according to the Laws of the Marches, 
who claims a debt in the other kingdom where he 
remains, he must advise the clerics, if it is a cleric 
who is in his debt, the knights, if it is a knight, the 
burgesses, if it is a burgess, and by them the case 
must be decided and not by others. 

'Further, they agreed, that Inburghe and Out- 
burghe (magistrates within and without burghs) shall 

1 The Esk was then the boundary line. The ' Debatable Land ' came 
into being later owing to English encroachments or invasions. 

2 Nulla in text, but this makes nonsense. Read instead from other 
versions multa. 


have power to distrain either country so that the 
above-mentioned customs may be inviolately observed 
between the two realms.' 

From Article 8 in the foregoing list of laws, it is 
plain that no Warden Courts can have existed at this 
time, for the pursuer has to recover his goods in the 
court of the fee in which he finds them. There is 
here no assize or jury as in the later laws to ' foul' 
or ' clear ' the bills ; the method of justice is as simple 
as possible, proceeding by oaths and ordeal of battle. 

Indeed, the whole procedure derives from an earlier 
epoch than that of the earliest Lord Wardens ; mark 
the ancient methods of compurgation (per sacra- 
mentum sex virorum et se septimo), the sureties or 
pledges, the disallowing of witnesses, and the final 
appeal to the sword, which decides the cause by the 
success or defeat of the defendant in single combat 1 
(duellum). As Dr. Neilson points out in his Trial by 
Combat, it was ' a root principle of March law that 
there could be no proof by witnesses there could 
only be probation by the body of a man.' 

1 Trial by combat was not formally abolished in England till 1819. 
In the previous year a defendant, one Abraham Thornton, accused of 
manslaughter, claimed to defend his cause ' by his body,' and threw down 
a gauntlet in accordance with the centuries-old duel of law. In the event 
the appeal was withdrawn, Thornton was set free, and the ancient law 
was repealed. 



' The Sword 

The voice of the Sword from the heart of the Sword 
Clanging majestical, 
As from the starry-staired 
Courts of the primal Supremacy, 
Her high irresistible song.' 


The ancient procedure disclosed by this earliest ' Law 
of the Marches ' is then of the greatest interest, as 
well from the historic as from the romantic point of 
view. Since from the earliest times, according to the 
inquest held by Cressingham at Carlisle in 1292, this 
duellum or trial by combat on the Border had had to 
decide the issue on matters touching life and limb 
between Englishmen and Scotsmen. 

None might escape this ordeal if accused none 
save the Kings of England and Scotland, and their 
heirs, and the Bishops of St. Andrews and Dunkeld 
or Durham and at the four march forums or battle 
grounds of Camisford, 1 opposite Norham on the East 
Marches ; Redam, or the Riding burn, that runs into 
Tweed a mile or more west of Carham, for the Middle 
Marches; Gammelspath [viz. the height of Watling 

1 Identified by Dr. Neilson with a ford opposite to Norham. Hamisford 
is an alternative reading, and Dr. Neilson gives as reference, p. 243, 
Twysdem's Decem Scriptores (sub anno 1121), 'Ranulphus Dunelmensis 
episcopus castellum apud Northam incepit, super ripam Twedar, in loco qui 
Ethamesforda dicitur.' 


Street above Ad Fines Camp] for Coquetdale and 
Redesdale, and Sulwath or ' Sol way ' * for the Western 
Marches, the fight between the appellant and defend- 
ant of the different nations was bound to take place. 

No proof, said the stern Border customs, can be 
admitted by an Englishman against a Scot, or by a 
Scot against an Englishman, ' save only by the body of 
a man,' nisi tantummodo per corpus hominis ; whence, 
continues the same terse code, it is that many combats 
take place out of the various disputes that arise upon 
the Border. Even when, as in the case of sundry 
shivering ecclesiastics appealed by the opposite side, 
the defendant preferred to be represented by a 
champion, he was liable to be beheaded in the event 
of his champion's defeat, as happened indeed to the 
unfortunate Prior of Lideley, 2 who presumably must 
have failed to obtain sureties for the claim made 
against him. 

1 Bishop Nicholson's Lex gives only two meeting-places, but the Acts of 
Parliament of Scotland give four, as above stated. As to the battle ground 
of Sulwath (the act says ' the Sheriffs of Carlisle and Cumberland must 
answer at Sulwath apud Sulewath' which Dr. Neilson, with great 
learning and research, identifies with the Lochmabenstone beside Solway, 
near to Gretna Green), see his Annals of the Solway (Maclehose. Glasgow). 
Therein he seems to have established his contention that Solway meant 
originally the ' muddy ford ' over Esk, at that time the boundary between 
England and Scotland. Fordun styles it 'Scotiswath sive Sulwath' 
Solway being a comparatively late term. 

2 See Ridpath's History of the Border, p. 98, for a remonstrance of 
the clergy of England, presented to the Legate Otho in 1237, 
for procuring redress from the king of several encroachments on their 


Idealising the past, one might imagine the youthful 
champion like a ruddy-cheeked David, ever triumphant 
over the oppressor upon the windy heath of Gammels- 
path, under the shadow of Thirlmoor, overlooking the 
old Roman Camp of Ad Fines, but in stern reality 
the brutal Bonthron or fearnowt Armstrong would 
usually be victor, even though his cause was based 
upon guile, avarice, or lust of revenge. 

1 His strength is as the strength of ten 
Because his heart is pure,' 

sang Lord Tennyson in his Idylls, but ' the Song of 
the Sword' of another poet more justly based the 
' Court of the primal Supremacy ' upon the stark 
strength of the sword-bearer. 

' Glittering and keen 
As the song of the winter stars, 
Ho ! then the sound 
Of my voice, the implacable 
Angel of Destiny ! 
I am the Sword.' 

The sword then in these early days decided the 
law plea before the grim Borderers in the Areopagus 
of the moorland, and in the event of defeat the 
vanquished must endure loss of goods, fame, and 
sometimes life itself. 

We return, however, to the unfortunate Prior of 
Lideley, who, as we surmised above, must have been 
unable to obtain sureties or pledges, for only in that 


event, and a subsequent conviction by duel, would he 
be liable to be handed over to his accusers ' to do 
justice concerning him at their will' liberaretur 
quaerenti jfaciendo de ipso voluntatem suam. 1 

Now, as is clear from the case of Henry Scot 2 and 
John of Wyncheles, an accuser had only to make a 
preposterous claim for damages to debar the defendant 
from obtaining sureties. 

This evidently gave a swash-buckler, or ' a man of 
Belial, swollen with food and wine,' an unfair 
advantage, and it was this custom that Edward I. 
'repudiated' ('reprobavit '), about 1280. For the 
defendant seemingly, if appealed, was bound to 
fight to take handwarcel but he had also to find 
security et nichilominus inveniret securitatem quae- 
renti de dampnis praedictis 2 and if he could not, 
then the accuser had his will with him. The 

1 ' Henry Scot had bought a horse at the fair of Carlisle, and he com- 
plained to the Sheriff of Cumberland that John of Wyncheles had appealed 
him of theft by law of March, according to which Henry, if unable to find 
securities to pay John whatever he claimed as damages, even if it were 
.1000, must undergo judgment as lawfully convicted. An inquiry was 
ordered, and the inquest declared that there had been a custom from a time 
whereof no memory existed, that a Scotch robber must be sued within 40 
days, and that this pursuer was entitled to Handwarcel with spear and 
sword and targe. The Kecord of the inquest is somewhat mutilated, but its 
fragments suffice to make it clear that the juries of 1292 accurately stated 
what had been the law before 1280, that an accuser who could find no 
securities was liable to be handed over to his accusers to do justice con- 
cerning him at their will.' (Neilson, Trial by Combat, p. 130.) 

2 Historical Documents relating to Scotland (Stevenson), vol. i. p. 357 : 
'Extracts from the Eoll of the Justices Itinerant in the Courts of 
Cumberland, having reference to the affairs of Scotland.' 


passages referring to the matter are very obscure, 
but Edward i. seemingly must have reduced the 
amount of security demanded to the actual value of 
the damage. 



We give now a short summary of the Border Laws 
which follow in Bishop Nicholson's collection of the 
year and reign as under : 

1449. 1 Henry vi. 1464. 1 Edward iv. 

1533. 1 Henry vra. 1549. Edward vi. 

1553. Queen Mary. 1563.] 

\ Queen Elizabeth. 
1596. J 

These early indentures l are, in the first instance, 
Truces and Abstinences from War between the Kings 
of England and Scotland, and the chief officers re- 
sponsible are termed Conservators of the Truce, with 
whom are joined various knights and all the Admirals 
of the Sea and Wardens of the Marches. In the in- 
denture of 1449 the Conservators ' ordain and conclude 

1 These are all written in mediaeval Latin : the text is very corrupt, 
sometimes impossible of construction, and very full of repetition, so that 
instead of attempting to translate them in full the present writer thought 
it better to give a few notes of the most interesting articles in these 
treaties on ' Border Laws.' 

The remaining ' Border Laws ' are in English, and are printed in Bishop 
Nicholson's Leges Marchiarum. (London, 1705.) 


that all and every one of the Wardens of the Marches 
on either side, whether present or future, as well as 
all the notable men in the said Marches from the town 
of Newcastle-on-Tyne and Penrith in England on the 
one side, and on the other the inhabitants of the 
Marches from the towns of Edinburgh and Dumfries 
in Scotland towards England shall swear for them- 
selves, and all of them on the Holy Evangel of God 
in front of them corporeally touching it that they 
will observe the said truce in all and singular its 
articles, without any deceit, fraud, or evil intention, 
and will cause others to observe the same as far as in 
them lies.' 

That the Wardens had not yet acquired the full 
powers they enjoyed later, and that their * Days of 
Truce ' or March Days on the Border line, with their 
jurisdiction and assize, were not at this time estab- 
lished, is proved by sundry of the sections of this 
indenture. No. 12 runs as follows : 

1449 A.D. ' It has been agreed that if any one on 
the one side or the other, whilst the Truce lasts, take 
any fortalice from the other the aggrieved possessor 
may recover it by use of force or otherwise as best he 
can, and the evil-doers shall be punished as the case 

' And the Conservators of that part whose subject 
has taken the fortalice shall be bound to succour and 


assist him whose fortalice has been taken and to make 
it good to him at the expense of the offending party 
as quickly and conveniently and diligently as possible ; 
or if the offended party prefer it he may inform the 
King and Conservators of the other part or their 
deputies to cause the said fortalice to be restored to 
him, which they shall be bound to do and carry out to 
their power, without deceit, fraud or evil intention.' 

Again, section 13 deals with malefactors guilty of 
wrong-doing in the opposite realm. They are to be 
punished, if caught, according to the laws of the land 
wherein they have offended. 

If they escape, the Conservators of the other realm 
must attach them, if so requested, and hand them 
over to the other realm for punishment. 

' If they cannot be apprehended then the King 
whose subjects they are must banish them with 
sound of trumpet at once and forever from his 
dominions, unless and until they have fully satisfied 
the offended party for their transgressions or attempts 
against him.' 

There is here no mention of the Wardens' court or 
jury to assess the damages, ' the double and sawfey ' 
of which we hear so much later on. The malefactor 
is to be banished, if not caught, and the Conservators 
are to make good his misdeeds out of his goods so 
far as they will suffice. If he is caught and has not 


enough goods to make satisfaction, he is to be more 
severely punished and pay in his body. Any one re- 
setting, counselling, or favouring the evil-doer is to be 
held responsible for the other's misdeeds. 

Shipwreck. Sundry sections of the indenture deal 
with the protection of seamen who may be ship- 
wrecked, or, driven by stress of weather, put into 
ports of the other realm. They assign punishment 
to those who offend against them or rob their ships. 
The various Admirals of either realm are with the 
Wardens conjointly named as Conservators of the 
Truce with the Commissioners. They doubtless dealt 
with fugitives by sea, sea- robbing and shipwreck of 
ships and sailors. 

Clauses 5, 6, 7, 8 run as follows : 

(5) 'Also, it has been arranged and concluded 
between ourselves and the said Ambassadors, that if 
during the duration of the Truce or abstinence from 
warfare, it happens that any subjects or vassals of 
the said most excellent Prince, King of England and 
France as they sail by sea on any just, reasonable or 
lawful cause whether as merchants, pilgrims, fishers 
or otherwise under stress of wind or storm, or any 
other just, reasonable, necessary and urgent cause, 
though they did not wish it nor had proposed it at 
the time of their leaving home should put in at any 
port or other place of the realm of Scotland, or suffer 


shipwreck in any other place in the same kingdom, 
while any person remains alive in the shipwrecked 
ship. In this event it shall not be lawful to the 
most excellent Prince, King of Scots, his cousin, or 
any one of his subjects or vassals, either by himself 
or others, to seize or take away from these ship- 
wrecked or storm-beaten men their ships, goods or 
merchandise, or to take away anything from them, 
or detain, or by 'reason of the debt of any one to arrest 
them, or cause to be arrested in whole or in part ; 
but it shall be lawful to these shipwrecked or storm- 
beaten men, thus detained by the repair of their 
ships the reason of their detention having ceased 
to depart with their ships, merchandise, goods and 
gear, as quickly as conveniently they can without any 
question, hindrance, arrest or action being made or 
brought against them by the said most illustrious 
Prince, the King of Scots, or any subject or subjects 
of his. 

(6) ' And in like manner,' etc. : viz. exactly the 
same provisions are to be applied in the case of ship- 
wrecked subjects of the King of Scotland. 

(7) ' Also, it has been arranged and concluded by 
our aforesaid Commissioners on either side, that if 
any one or more of the subjects of the most dread 
King of England and France, as is above said, chances 
to be driven ashore or shipwrecked, or to come into 


the realm of Scotland under safe-conduct before the 
date of its expiration, or is so harassed by ill health 
that he cannot being thus driven ashore, or coming 
under safe-conduct in his ship which has put into 
shore, or coming in before the date of expiry of his 
safe-conduct conveniently depart and go to his own 
land, then he shall have liberty, being ill, or driven 
ashore or wrecked on his voyage, to stay in safety 
wherever he may have been driven or shipwrecked 
until he shall have recovered, and thereafter with 
letters of testimony from the Mayor, or Bailiff, 
Constable, or any other officer of the Lord the King in 
the place wherein he shall happen to be invalid the 
cause of his illness abating to depart on moderate 
charges, to his own country without any impediment 
or obstacle whatsoever, from any of the subjects or 
vassals of the Lord, the King of Scots. 

' On the understanding that he shall not attempt, 
nor cause to be attempted, anything prejudicial 
against the King, his realm, or his subjects.' 

(8) All of the above provisos to hold equally good 
in the case of Scots in the like case. There are also 
further clauses dealing with shipwrecked goods, loss 
of gear and robbing of the same by subjects of either 
realm or by foreigners. 

The question of those who travel in the opposite 
realm under safe-conduct is also dealt with. 


Two letters of safe-conduct are to be made out 
under the Great Seal of either kingdom, the English 
safe-conduct to remain in some convenient place on 
the Scottish Border, the Scots letter similarly to 
remain on the English Border, either for the use of 
the subjects of their several realm who seek for 
justice for offences done them, but not more than 
three or four together may use it at one time. 

An injured individual, however, may follow his 
aggressor into the opposite realm without any safe- 
conduct, if he does so within six days. This, by the 
way, is the ' cold trod,' as the phrase went, as opposed 
to * hot trod,' viz. immediate pursuit ' with hue and 
cry and horn and hound/ that was allowed even up 
to the union of the two crowns. The aggrieved in- 
dividual is also permitted, if he prefers it, to approach 
one of the Wardens of the opposite realm or his 
deputy within six days for obtaining justice. Again, 
by virtue of the letters of safe-conduct, an aggrieved 
individual may at any time, while the truce lasts, 
enter the opposite realm and prosecute his cause 
under any competent judge l therein. 

1 This is further defined in another treaty sealed by the Commissioners in 
the Church of St. Nicholas in Newcastle, 14th August 1451. (Rymer, 
Foedera, vol. xi. p. 360.) 

'Competent judge' was declared to be 'the Warden of that march 
where the delinquent resided : and if the person complained of has not 
his residence within the limits of either march, or could not be found 
within the limits of that where he actually resided, or was wont to reside, 


Hunting, fishing, fowling or taking their pleasure 
in the opposite realm is forbidden without leave, first 
obtained from the proprietors, the * Hunting of 
the Cheviot ' being always a favourite pastime of the 
Scots. As for cattle depasturing in the other realm, 
the injured individual must not take the law into his 
own hands, but will have justice done him according 
to the law and custom of his own realm. 

Fugitives from justice, becoming ' liegemen ' of the 
other realm, must answer before the Conservators of 
the Truce on the opposite side for their misdeeds. 

Other fugitives are to be handed over whence they 

In concluding, the indenture gives full power to 
the Wardens and Admirals in their respective spheres 
to reform and make good all losses and felonies, etc., 
committed in defiance of the truce, and to punish all 
evil-doers as they deserve. In default of justice, 
either prince can appeal to the other by herald, who 
should send at least once a year two or three of his 
Council to the marches, not alone to punish the trans- 
gressors, but also to examine if the Conservators of 

the plaintiff might, in that case, present a bill or schedule of his complaint 
to the Warden, who should with all convenient speed transmit the bill, 
together with the plaintiff, if the latter desired it, furnished with letters of 
attestation and safe-conduct, to be delivered without fee or reward, to the 
Chancellor of the Kingdom of which the party complained of was a subject : 
whereupon the Chancellor should summon the party accused, and with all 
possible despatch administer justice to the plaintiff.' 


the Truce, the Wardens, or their deputies have been 
remiss in the execution of justice. 

These Truces, Abstinences from War and Border 
Laws were to be proclaimed at the chief places along 
the Border, and occasionally throughout England, as 
may be seen in an injunction given in Bymer, 14 
Ed. iv. (1474), ' de Treugis Scotiae proclamandis/ 

In this case thirty-three counties, cities and towns 
are mentioned ranging from Northumberland to 
Calais where the proclamations are to be made. 

Usually, however, publication and notification were 
to be made by the Wardens ' in omnibus et singulis 
insignioribus locis Marcharium suarum tarn in regno 
Scotiae quam Angliae publice et solen niter,' beginning, 
for example, at Coldstream, then next day at Norham, 
and so on as continuously and expeditiously as possible 
within the following eight days. 

Or again, the places where publication is to be 
made is left to the Wardens' judgment, as in the 
truce of 1487, where the actual words are set forth 
in Bymer as follows : 

' Captis et conclusis Treugis et Abstinentiis hujus 
modi fiant Proclamationes publice tarn in Confiniis 
utriusque Regni per terram quam in Portubus maris 
et in aliis Locis ubi expediens videbitur pro firma et 
inviolabili Observatione earundem sub Poena incum- 


In 1464 an indenture made between Edward iv. 
and James in. provides for peace between the realms 
for fifteen years, and therein the King of Scots binds 
himself not to ' give, afford sanction or allow his 
subjects to give countenance or favour to Henry, 
lately styling himself King of England, or to his wife, 
Margaret, or to Edward his son.' 

Neither prince may issue a safe-conduct to a traitor 
or rebel of the other. 

The provisions as to shipwreck and distressed 
seamen are nearly the same as before. 

No impediment, on either side, to be given to 
ships sailing, and compelling to strike sail is 

Buying of wool for export into this realm forbidden. 
James Douglas is expressly comprehended in this 
truce on the part of the King of England as well 
as others born in Scotland who before the day of 
these presents have become lieges of the crown of 

The truce does not apply to the dominion of (Lorn) 
Lome in Scotland nor to (London) Lundy Island in 
England ' the said dominion and island not being 
regarded as comprehended in this truce.' 

The oath to be taken as in the former indenture. 

There is an indenture of the weirdest grammar 
conceivable to be found in Rymer (not included in 


the Leges Marchiarum) under date 1473, viz. in the 
reign of Edward iv. of England and James in. of 
Scotland, which deals more particularly with the 
place of the Wardens' meetings and also prescribes 
the number that shall attend upon the Wardens at 
these meetings (viz. 2000), their lieutenants (500), 
the deputies (200). 

It is further ordered that the slayer of an English- 
man on Scottish ground, or the slayer of a Scot on 
English ground, is to be handed over on request made 
within fifteen days to the party complaining, to be 
'justified or ransomed according to his will.' 

If the slayer be fugitive then he is to be ' put to 
the King's horn/ viz. proclaimed a rebel, and any one 
' resetting ' (receiving) him is to incur the same 
penalty as the homicide himself would have done if 
he had been captured. 

The indenture of 1533 in the Leges Marchiarum 
is to establish ' peace, friendship, league and alliance ' 
between Henry vin. and James v. during their life 
and for one whole year after the death of the first to 
die, but there must not be any derogation from any 
of the ancient and pristine treaties on either side 
with the Most Christian King of France. 

Homicides, thieves, robbers, fugitives are to be 
handed over within ten days of the receipt of a 
request from either prince. 


The granting of safe-conducts to be left to the 
discretion of the prince. 

Homicides of Scots in England or of Englishmen in 
Scotland are to be apprehended by the Wardens of 
either march, to be brought to an appointed diet of 
the Wardens, and, if convicted, to be handed over to 
the opposite Warden. 

1549. Murderers of the subjects of the opposite 
realm are to be apprehended by the Wardens, brought 
to the ' Day of Trews/ and there if convicted by the 
' Laws of Marche' to be handed over to the opposite 
Warden to be punished with death. 

Cold Trod, or the following up of goods stolen, 
within six days afterwards, permitted without safe- 
conduct. The pursuer, however, must ' go unto some 
honest man, inhabiting within the Marches which he 
hath enter'd, and declare unto him the cause of 
his entry.' 

1553. Fyling (convicting} and Acquitting upon the 
Honour of the Warden. Now first introduced, and 
limited ' to offences committed since the acceptation of 
the last Peace and before the date of these Presents.' 

This was doubtless to expedite arrears, but it 
seems to have become permanent in march jurisdic- 
tion, and to have been extended in scope as set forth 
in the indenture of 1563. * 

1 On this subject, see also pp. 111-4. 



It would appear from this indenture that a jury of 
' six honest and famous men ' of the Wardenry were 
adjoined to the Warden in these cases of honour 
(now extended to ' all complaints and attempts ') 
by the opposite Warden. But as ' some ungodly 
Persons ' took advantage of this order to ' make com- 
plaints and bill for goods lost where none was taken 
from them, and so troubled the Wardens to speir and 
search for the thing that never was done/ then are 
they to be apprehended and handed over to the 
opposite Warden (whom they had thus troubled) to 
be punished by him at his discretion. 

The growth of civilisation and this increased desire 
of law and order is shown by the instructions incor- 
porated in the subsequent Border Laws. 

1553. Baughling or reproving a subject of the 
opposite realm at a Day of Truce forbidden except 
by licence of both Wardens. 1 

1563. In the next indenture the Wardens must see 
that the complainant has justice done him on his bill 
of complaint. 

Perjury. Any one perjuring himself by swearing 
falsely his innocence of a bill filed against him is to 
be handed over to the opposite Warden to be im- 
prisoned for three months, and at the * next day of 

1 For the full treatment of the enactment and the meaning of the word, 
see Appendix v. 


Trewes ' thereafter is to be ' brought before the 
Wardens and there openly be denounced and pro- 
claimed a Perjured man : after which time he shall 
not be reputed to be a man able to give further Faith 
or Testimony in any case or Matter.' 

Overswearing of Value of Goods stolen. The two 
Wardens, with a jury of ' 12 of the most worshipful 
and Credible Persons, then being present' (half of 
them Scotsmen, half Englishmen), may ' moderate, 
diminish or qualifie the number or Price of the goods 
or Cattel so overs worn.' 

Trespass of Cattle. The owner of the ground or 
in his default the Warden where one of the opposite 
realm ' willingly and customably depastures and feeds 
with his cattle or sheep, or staffherds the same,' may 
' impound the said cattel and keep in Pound till the 
owner pays for the first time for every nolt [bullock] 
a Penny sterling, and for every Sheep a Penny Scots. 

' If he offend again a double Parkage to be paid 
until it extend to 2s. per nolt and 6d. per sheep, 
beginning again with each New Year Day with a 
Penny Sterling and a Penny Scots.' 

Some progress in administration upon the Border 
is now apparent, because in Edward iv.'s indenture it 
will be remembered that the injured person was to be 
allowed to avenge himself (' propria authoritate sua 
ulciscatur ') if he could not obtain justice. 


Fishing in the Tweed. There were various 
disputes between the Captain of Norham, Selby of 
Twizell, etc., and the Scots, the English of course 
fishing the southern bank and the Scots the northern 
bank of the Tweed. Any one ' unlawfully troubling, 
stopping, or making impediment ' to the subject of 
the opposite realm ' in his fishing is to be arrested by 
the Warden, and if convicted at the Day of Trews 
must pay 20s. sterling for every Tyde he made 
impediment/ and is to be ' delivered to remain with 
the party grieved, until the same be fully satisfied.' 

Double and Sawfey, 1 or Two Doubles. For hurt or 
wounding the same penalty is to be paid as for 
robbing, thieving, and spoiling, viz. ' 2 Doubles/ as it 
was called (viz. the original loss was doubled and a 
third mulct, ' the Sawfey ' being added), the damage 
being assessed by twelve jurymen (half Scots, half 
English). ' Two Doubles ' are also payable for maim- 
ing or mutilation, but over and above this the offender 
is to be apprehended and delivered to the opposite 
Warden, who is to punish him for ' 6 months in strayte 
prison.' The same applies to damage by fire-raising ; 
and in 1563 it is ordained that for the third time of 
offending he shall ' incur the Pain of Death as a 
common offender against the Laws of the Marches.' 
In reality, there was much diversity of punishment, 

1 See Appendix v. 


for, as section 25 of the indenture of 1553 points out, 
each Warden had ' a Form and manner of proceeding 
different from the other/ but the true punishment or 
fine was a triple one, viz. ' 2 Doubles ' or ' Double 
and Sawfey' in addition to the claim. 

1563. Strict orders are given in Queen Elizabeth's 
reign for the better ordering of justice on the Border, 
but whether much reformation was effected is doubtful. 
Thus ' the Wardens of the Marches must keep 
their Days of March often, and in proper person, so 
far as may be and not by their Deputies, without just 
and great occasion.' Days of Truce are not to be let 
slip, and once a month one Day of March at least 
must be kept at every march by the officers thereof. 

Price of Cattle determined. ' The price or value 
of Cattle is set down for the avoiding of perjury 
heretofore committed in the valuing of Cattel, and for 
a great terror unto the wicked,' and also for the 
expediting of the assessment of the * double ' and 
' Sawfey.' The single value was to be esteemed and 
judged as follows : - 

' Every Ox, above 4 years old . 40 shillings 

Every Cow ,, ,, . 30 ,, 

Every Ox, above 2 years old . . 20 ,, 
Every young Cow do. . . 20 
Every other beast under 2 years old 10 ,, 

Every old Sheep .... 6/ 



[Every] Sheep Hogge . ... 3/ 
old Swine above 1 year old . 6/ 
young . 2/ 

Gate [Goat] ,, ,, . 5/ 
young Gate . . . 2/ 
double Toope to be valued after the rate of 

the Single.' 

The Depasturing or Staffherding of Cattle in the 
opposite Realm is further dealt with. Cattle or sheep 
that are ' staffherded or remain depasturing upon the 
ground of the opposite realm' for the space of six 
hours in one day may be taken to his own use by the 
owner of the ground or the Warden. The proprietor 
or "Warden was to take with him ' 4 or more honest 
& credible persons unsuspected, to be present with 
him, to see that the execution be duly made, all 
fraud and Male Engine set apart & removed.' 

' In the event of the cattle depasturing less than 
6 hours the order of the indenture of 1553 is to apply 
concerning Parkadge & Pounding.' 

' If lett or impediment be made by the owner of the 
Cattle then are they to be lawfully forfeited, and 
taken to the use of the Owner of the ground or 
Warden, for the Contempt and Resistance made 
against this order of Justice.' 

Hot Trod. Any new rules and innovations now 
made in Border Laws are not to interfere with the 


old custom of Hot Trod, viz. the following ' their 
lawful Trade with * Hound and Horn, with Hue and 
cry, and all other accustomed manner of fresh Pursuit, 
Jor the Recovery of their Goods spoiled.' 


' And lang Aicky, in the Souter Moor, 
Wi' his sleuth-dog sits in his watch right sure.' 

The Fray of Support. 

' Our ancient statutes,' wrote Sir Walter Scott (Border Minstrelsy, 
Hobbie Noble, note), ' inform us that the blood-hound or sleuth-hound (so- 
called from its quality of tracing the slot or track of men and animals) 
was early used in the pursuit and detention of marauders.' 

' Nullus perturbet aut impediat canem trassantem, aut homines trassantes 
cum ipso, ad sequendum latrones. Kegiam majestatem lib 4 ver., cap. 32.' 
Under the ancient custom of ' Hot Trode,' so continually met with in 
Border writings, the ' parties grieved ' were by Border Law and custom 
'to follow their lawful Trode with Hound and Horn, with Hue and Cry.' 
The sentinel upon his lonely watch would certainly have been much 
heartened by the company of a staunch bloodhound, and the fugitive 
as much discouraged. ' These hounds seem latterly to have been popularly 
termed " slough dogs," for pursuing offenders through the sloughs, mosses, 
and bogs, that were not passable but by those who were acquainted with 
the various and intricate by-paths and turnings.' 

In 1595 the Bishop of Durham and Lord Eure (Warden of Middle 
March) wrote to Lord Huntingdon (Lord President in the north) requesting 
that he should cause ' the Justices to revive the good orders for watches of 
all kinds, sloughhounds following hue and cry, and putting themselves and 
servants in better order for service under terms and leases in these remote 
parts.' (Calendar of Border Papers.) 

And again, a little later, Edward Gray, Deputy- Warden, writes to Lord 
Eure : ' For slew dogges, I want a kallender whiche your Lordship hathe, 
by which I should call the dogs in their several divisions, and would gladly 
have it, if you could devise means to send it.' 

In 1616 the Commissioners of His Majesty's middle shires appoint the 
manner of providing and keeping these ' slough dogs.' ' The sheriff, officers, 
bailiffs, and constables, within every circuit and compass wherein the 
slough dogs are appointed to be kept, are to take care for taxing the 
inhabitants towards the charge thereof, and collect the same, and for pro- 
viding the " slough dogs," and to inform the commissioners if any refuse to 
pay their contributions, so as thereby such as refuse may be committed to 
the gaol till they pay the same.' 


A Warden may pursue in Hot Trod fugitives or 
offenders into the opposite realm, and none may let 
or hinder him, but must join him on request and 
notice given of the reason of the chase, for the 
Warden is to give knowledge of the ' Hot Trod ' to 
the ' first town he comet h by or the first Person he 
meeteth with ' on such occasions. 

If the pursuer ' do injury or unlawful harm within 
the opposite Realm' he is to be delivered to the 
opposite Warden and to be punished at his discretion, 
and other twelve persons of the same realm to be 
nominated by the opposite Warden. 

A Warden's Raid or Rode (formerly at times 
undertaken by the Warden, who was permitted to 
avenge injury by his own strong arm) was forbidden, 
' except when specially commanded by the Prince/ by 
Elizabeth in 1596, but this, of course, would not 
interfere with the ancient liberty of pursuing the 
Hot Trod. 

1596. Again, in 1596 stricter order is to be taken 

O * 

with ' all notorious Thieves and Robbers ' within the 
various Wardenries. A list must be enrolled and given 
in to the Warden, ' who shall, upon the first attempt 
that shall be truly filed upon them hereafter, put the 
offender immediately to death : or, in case he be 
fugitive, shall cause him to be proclaimed such an one 
according to the order and customs of the Borders, 


and his House immediately to be demolished and 
destroyed, that it serve him no more for Receipt 
within that Wardenry.' Previously to this, by the 
Border Law of 1563, the offender was only to be put 
to death for the third fault. 

Goods lost to be claimed within Year and Day. ' If 
it shall happen any person to have bonajide in his 
possession stollen goods, not knowing them to be 
stollen, in case he be not sued therefor within year 
and day, the goods shall remain with him ever after 
as his own proper goods.' 

Pledges. Finally, in regard to the ' pledges ' so 
often mentioned, usually they were of c very mean 
quality,' not unlike Falstaff's ' pressed men,' and 
their fate was frequently to die in prison. ' Haddock's 
Hole ' at Berwick had its tale to tell of these vicarious 
pledges. Prisons, indeed, were so foul and unsanitary 
that prisoners of a higher quality, who would be 
treated with greater consideration, often suffered the 
like fate. Thus in Henry vn.'s reign, on the occasion 
of ' Sir Robert Carre, Warden of Scotland, being 
slain e at a trewe, an Heron with 7 others were 
delivered for him, and died in Fast Castle prisoners 
for that facte.' 

Sometimes in the absence of his ' pledges ' the 
Warden would * deliver ' an officer of his own. 
Suppose, for example, a bill had been 'fyled' upon 


an inhabitant of his Wardenry, and that the Warden 
had not been able to arrest him at the Day of Truce, 
he might, to prove his goodwill and faithfulness, 
hand over his own servant instead. In which case 
he often, as the phrase went, ' borrowed ' him again 
upon his word. 

Thus in the indenture of 1596 section 11 deals with 
the personal responsibility of the Warden in this 

CclSG *' 

' Yf the warden deliver his officer for a bill fyled 
before him, and afterwards borrow him again upon his 
word, as is the use, yf in the meantime the party so 
fyled depart this life, by whatsoever way or means, in 
this case the Warden shall pay the bill, and seek his 
remedy and relief upon the heirs and executors of the 
Defunct, as he may best.' 

Broken Men. This would more especially be the 
case with the ' pledges ' of the ' broken men/ such, for 
example, as the Routledges on the West March, who 
were proverbially spoken of as ' every man's prey.' 
There was special provision made for them and for 
' clanless loons' in the indenture of 1596, where certain 
sections deal with the pledges to be entered for ' every 
sirname of broken men' (viz. men without a respon- 
sible head or chief), and also with the pledges for 
' such Border men and others as are not of any 
knowne Clanne ' ; and it is enacted ' that being entred 


thay shall be kept by indifferent men, upon their 
own expense, and not committed to the custody of 
any person with whom they stand at feed or variance.' 
These men were to be responsible for their whole 
sirname, and if the bills fyled were not redressed 
within a year and a day, * it shall be in the choice of 
the Prince or officers (in whose hands they remain) to 
take their lives, or to retain or seize them at their 
pleasure till the full delivery be made/ 





Border Meetings 

THE phrase 'a Border Meeting' might imply the 
coming together of the two Wardens for the holding 
of a Day of Truce, or else the assembly of the Com- 
missioners or Conservatores Treugarum for settling 
peace between the two kingdoms. 

In 1598 Sir William Bowes, writing to Burghley, 
thus distinguishes between the two kinds of Border 
meetings. ' 1st. Ordinary, between the wardens or 
deputies for common justice. 2nd. The other, the 
more solemn, as between commissioners sent for 
leagues, treaties of peace, or misconduct of wardens. 
They differ in kind and observance, yet agree in 
others, viz., taking assurance; meeting at the place, 
and sitting in some church or town for business ; also 
that assurance usually, by the English going in, is de- 
manded and taken first, immediately after, the Scots 


demanding and receiving the like of ours. They 
differ more in other two points, viz., the more prin- 
cipal commissioners have kept their meetings on the 
"very marche lyne," and for their session, mostly, 
not always, at Berwick or Carlisle. Ordinary meet- 
ings and sessions usually in Scottish ground, except 
when by the wardens' agreement, transposed for con- 
venience to a frontier town. I find from " auncient " 
men this was the usage, drawn from the practice of 
the first Lord Wharton and Sir Robert Bowes, two 
of the most expert Borderers within memory.' 

The Form and Order of a Day of Truce, or the 
Meeting between Warden and Warden 

In Burn and Nicholson's History of Westmorland 
and Cumberland there is given a very interesting 
account from a manuscript of one Richard Bell, who 
appears to have been Warden Clerk on the Western 
March during the greatest part of Queen Elizabeth's 
reign, of the manner of keeping Warden Courts. 
These courts were held by both Wardens at Days of 
Truce for the mutual redress of grievances between 
the subjects of the one kingdom and the other in the 
various Wardenries. 

In this manuscript there is given ' a brief declara- 
tion of the special heads, orders, and forms of the laws 
of Marches of ancient time used upon the Borders 


by the Lord Wardens of England and Scotland at 
their meetings and days of trewes.' By means of 
their messengers or servants, the various Wardens 
would arrange with each other a day and place of 
meeting, and their clerks would be instructed to 
interchange their various bills containing the accusa- 
tions the list of ' attempts ' of either realm against 
the other. 

Then the ' Days of Marche so appointed, pro- 
clamation is to be made and straite letters of com- 
mandment directed in the Queen's Majesty's name, 
for all lords, knights, esquires, gentlemen, and several 
officers, with convenient numbers of their charge and 
tenants (as time and service require) for to repair 
the night before, and give their attendance upon the 
Lord Warden unto the said day of Marche, defensibly 
arrayed, and with their best horses and nags, the 
morrow next following. 
Which done, 

'The Lord Warden, attended with the gentle- 
men, officers, servants, and their powers, is to ride 
from the place where he inhabiteth, unto the 
Marche bank, all staying there without riding any 
further, or going over the stream if there be water, 
or bounds if it be dry land. 

'The Lord Warden of England first of all (the 


opposite Warden known to be come to the place 
appointed), doth send either his deputy, or some 
other special gentleman of good worth whom it 
pleaseth him to make choice of, with a convenient 
number of the best-horsed and most sufficient gentle- 
men of his company, unto the Warden of Scotland, 
signifying his repair thither, and craving assurance 
during their meeting until the sun-rising of the next 
day following, which assurance being required by 
England and granted by Scotland : the Scotch 
Warden, holding up his hand, engages for perform- 
ing thereof in all respects. 

' Then the deputy and other gentlemen of England, 
returning back to the Lord Warden of England, are 
to make relation of the assurance granted, and con- 
sent for the preservation of the amity. 
Forthwith after, 

' The Lord Warden of Scotland sendeth his deputy 
or some other special gentleman, accompanied with 
others of the best sort of horsemen, unto the Lord 
Warden of England, shewing that the Lord Warden 
of Scotland yieldeth to allow and confirm the 
assurance demanded for Scotland, craving the like 
for England : which the Warden of England, hold- 
ing up his hand, granteth. 
That done, 

' The Deputy of Scotland and his company return 


back to the Warden of Scotland, declaring the grant- 
ing of the assurance by England. 

' The Lord Warden of England, before he or any of 
his company enter into Scotland, causeth proclama- 
tion to be made for observation of the peace, for old 
feeds l [feuds] and new, word, deed and countenance, 
from the time of the proclaiming thereof, until the 
next day at the sun-rising, upon pain of death. 

' The like proclamation, after their return forth 
of England, by the Scotch Warden made before 

* The Lord Warden of England with his company 
entereth into Scotland, riding to the place where the 
Lord Warden of Scotland is, and lighting off horse- 
back stands still, until the Scotch Warden comes to 
him then and there in all friendly and orderly 
manner, mutually embracing the one the other. 

' After meeting and conference had between the 
Lord Wardens, they draw themselves remote to some 
quiet place, interchangeably calling the rolls and bills 
of both sides, in the presence of the gentlemen of the 
best sorts of both the countries. 

' If any doubt arise touching the fouling of the 

1 The meaning is that none should offend another by any speech, action 
or look, and that no ' deadly feud ' of the past should be revived or a new 
feud started. 


said bills, then the same is to be tried either by 
the Lord Warden's honour, or a jury of six gentle- 
men of England, and six of Scotland, or by a vower l 

The oath of the jurors is : 

' You shall clean no bills worthy to be fouled, you 
shall foul no bills worthy to be cleaned, but 
shall do that which appeareth with truth, for 
the maintenance of the peace, and suppress- 
ing of attempts: So help you God.' 

The ancient oath for excusing bills : 

' You shall swear by heaven above you, hell be- 
neath you, by your part of Paradise, by all 
that God made in six days and seven nights, 
and by God himself, you are whart out sack- 
less of art, part, way, witting, ridd, kenning, 
having or resetting of any of the goods and 
cattels named in this bill : So help you God? 2 

The oath of swearing of bills fouled : 

' You shall leile price make, and truth say, what 
your goods were worth at the time of their 
taking to have been bought and sold in a 
market taken all at one time, and that you 
knew no other recovery but this : So help you 
God.' 3 

1 A person agreed upon by both parties, who was to be of the country of 
the party accused. 

2 This evidently must be the oath of the defendant. 

3 This must be the oath of the prosecutor. 


' The Lord Wardens l having proceeded to the call- 
ing, fouling, and making delivery of bills : concluding, 
cause proclamation to be made by three Oyez's : 

' We do you to wit, that the Lords Wardens of 
England and Scotland, and Scotland and England, 
have at this day of truce well agreed, conform to the 
laudable custom of the law of Marche, and have made 
answer and delivery, foul or clean, of all the bills in- 
rolled and so the proclamation holds on according to 
the Lords Wardens' agreements and directions. 

' Proclamation made, and leave taken by the 
Wardens in all kindly sort, they with their com- 
panies depart and return homeward. 

1 The Lord Wardens themselves had latterly to take oath to do justice. 

Thus, Item 4 of the indenture of 1563 runs : 'That every Warden, at 
the First Day of Trewes, hereafter to be holden by himself, shall (in the 
presence of the opposite Warden, and the Inhabitants of both the Marches) 
make a solemn oath, and swear by the High God that reigneth above all 
Kings and Realms, and to whom all Christians owe obedience ; That he 
shall (in the name of God) do, exercise and use his office without respect of 
Person, Malice, Favour, or Affection, diligently, or undelayedly, according 
to his vocation and charge that he beareth under God and his Prince ; and 
shall do justice upon all complaints presented unto him, upon every Person 
complained upon under his Rule, and that, when any complaint is referred 
unto him, to swear, fyle, and deliver upon his Honour, he shall search, 
enquire and redress the same at his utmost power ; And that, if it shall 
happen him in so doing to acquit and absolve the Persons complained 
upon as Clean and Innocent ; yet if he shall anyways get sure knowledge 
of the very offender he shall declare him foul of the offence, and make 
lawful Redeem and Delivery thereof, albeit the very offender be not named 
in the Complaint. And this oath of the Wardens not only to be made at 
the first meeting hereafter to ensue, but also to be made every year once 
solemnly, as aforesaid, at the first Meeting after Midsummer, to put them 
in the better Remembrance of their Duties, and to place the Fear of God 
in their Hearts.' 


Which done, 

' The Warden of England calleth upon the gentle- 
men, demanding their opinions and good likings of 
the proceedings and conference had betwixt him and 
the Lord Warden of Scotland that day. Whereunto 
the gentlemen give answer and their opinions, which 
done, the gentlemen take their leave : the Warden 
yielding them thanks for their attendance and readi- 
ness of service.' 

Fuller and more detailed instructions as to the 
method of procedure and punishment can be obtained 
from the Border Laws. Thus in an indenture of 1553 
made between the Commissioners of the Queens of 
England and Scotland, ' it is ordered and devised for 
a more special expedition of justice between the said 
wardens of the said East and Middle Marches, that 
all attempts and complaints done within the said 
marches, since the acceptation of peace, shall be 
inrolled by the Warden of the marche where the com- 
plainant doth inhabit : and the said rolles shall be sent 
to the opposite warden, answerable to the same ; and 
the warden shall receive the said roll, and shall do his 
uttermost power and indeavours to speire, search, and 
enquire the truth and verity of these attempts, con- 
tained in the said complaints; and to cause such 
persons as be there complained upon to be arrested by 
the serjeant, to answer thereunto, if they be present. 


' And if they then shall happen to be absent, then 
they are to be arrested : to answer at the next day of 
Trewes, where and when the warden and the assize 
shall either fyle the said bills, or give another lawful 
answer at their next meeting, after the laws and 
customs of the marches : whereof 6 to be of the 
said warden's appointment, and the other 6 to be 
appointed by the said complainant, or such as do 
follow the bill.' 

And further, supposing that those individuals who 
had been ' fyled ' (found guilty) by the Warden had 
fled or hidden themselves so as to avoid arrest and 
judgment at the Day of Truce, then ' no lawful 
deliverance or recompense ' having been made for the 
same ' it is agreed, that the wardens of both marches 
(at the next day of Trewes ensuing or following of 
the fileing of the said bills) shall make deliverance of 
such other persons, by the arrest of the opposite 
warden : as he will undertake to be sufficient for the 
said bill. The person so delivered to remain with 
the party offended, until he be fully satisfied, and 
lawfully and fully redressed, according to justice, and 
the laws of marche.' 

From the various accounts of the form of trial 
given by Mr. Bell (the Warden's clerk), the Leges 
Marchiarum, and the Memorandum on the ' mode of 
holding a march day ' as given in the Calendar of 


Border Papers in 1585, it would appear that the 
Wardens' method of procedure varied as the years 
went by. 

There being some confusion apparent, it is as well 
to set down here the changes that appear to have 
taken place. 

Thus section 1 of the indenture of 1553 permits 
the Wardens for a more especial expedition of 
justice to ' speire, search, and deliver/ 

Section 4 limits this ' special order before demised 
for the Fyling and acquitting of bills upon the 
honour of the Warden only to such bills containing 
offences as have been committed since the last peace 
and these presents,' and is * not to abrogate or alter 
the old laws and customs in fyling bills by the 
Wardens of both realms.' 

A jury of twelve men of whom six are to be 
nominated by the respondent Warden, and '6 to be 
nominated by the complainant, or such as do follow 
the bill ' are appointed as the Wardens' assize. 

In 1563, however, a step further in the direction 
of a more expeditious method of obtaining justice 
is taken, for therein the Wardens are bidden to 
' speir, fyle, and deliver upon their honour, to- 
gether with six honest and famous men, adjoined to 
him for the tryal thereof to be named by the opposite 



Finally, in the last of the Leges Marchiarum, the 
indenture of 1596, this last step is taken, that the 
Warden must himself fyle or clear every bill sub- 
mitted to him. 

There is here no mention of the former mixed jury 
of twelve of 1553, or the jury of six of his own 
Wardenry of 1563, so that everything was now left 
to ' the honour of the Warden.' 

The section (5) dealing with this runs as follows : 
' That the Wardens in fyleing and clearing upon 
their Honours, shall set down in the margin of every 
bill fyled and cleared by them (foul or clear, as I am 
verily persuaded upon my conscience and honour), 
and such bills as they will not fyle or clear within the 
said fifteen days, by these words, or such like in 
effect, the same being signified unto them within the 
foresaid space of forty-eight hours, to be foul upon 
themselves for their neglect of duty in that 

The confusion that resulted, and the difference in 
procedure noticeable in various cases, are probably 
due to the fact that the indenture of 1553 specially 
guarded against the altering or abrogating the ' old 
laws and customs in fileing bills by the wardens of 
both realms.' 

This at least is the only explanation that can be 



given of the procedure in the case of the bill of 
Percival Reed of Troughend in 1590, when 'at the 
Belles Kirk 1 on the 13th of April he complained 
upon sundry Elliots and Armstrongs for " an open 
foray" at Troughend on Whitmonday 1589, for 
" reaving both insight and outsight gear, and the kill- 
ing of 2 men," ' which is ' alredie agreed, fyled, and 
sworne by the sight of 4 Englishmen and 4 Scottes- 
men.' (Calendar of Border Papers.) 

In conclusion, we give here two instances from 
Burn and Nicholson's History of ' bills fouled,' one 
against England and the other against Scotland. 

The first is c fouled ' against Liddesdale by the Com- 
missioners of Berwick for lack of appearance. 

JUNE 1582 

Mathew Taylor, 
and the poor 
widow of 
Martin Taylor, 
complain upon 

Old lard of Whit- 
augh, young 
lard of Wit- 
haugh, Sim's 
Thorn, and Jock 
of Copshawe, 

140 kie & oxen, 100 sheep, 
20 gate, and all their 
insight, 2001 sterling : 
and the slaughter of 
Martin Taylor, John 
Dodshon, John Skelloe, 
and Mathew Black- 

f l ' Lyddesdale. At the Belles Kirk the xiii of April 1590 William Fen- 
wick gentleman, deputie for the warden of the Myddle Marches of Eng- 
lande, and Thomas Trotter, deputie for the Lorde Bothewell, keper of 
Lyddesdale, principally mett for the redressinge of attempts on bothe 


The second is * fouled ' by the Commissioners 
against the West March of England. 

Walter Scott of 
and the tenants 
of Ett rick 
house, complain 

Will Grame of the Rose- 
trees, and Hutchins 
Richie of the Balie, 
with their com- 

80 kine and oxen, 
40nolt, 160 sheep, 
one horse. 



Apparently at a Wardens' meeting or Day of 
Truce the Lord Wardens were restricted by the 
treaties and conventions between the two kingdoms, 
for ' the laws of the Marches,' writes Sir B. Bowes, 
' be grounded and taken furthe of the articles and 
convencions of the last treatie of peace passed 
betwene the realnies and other remedye or redresse 
is there none for either partie against the other, but 
according to the said convencions and treatye, where- 
fore in some cases a person of eyther realme having 
both hurt and wrong can have no remedie because 
the case is not provyded for in the treatye as shall 
appear hereafter.' 


We may add in this connection Sir B. Bowes's 
further remarks upon the difficulty of obtaining 
justice at a Day of Truce, premising this, however, 
that the Scottish Warden would probably have said 
the same of the Englishmen opposite. 

'And yet nevertheless because Justice can never 
perfectlye be had of the Scottes, in some case for lacke 
of dewe obedience of the subjects, and in other cases 
because of maintennance that gentlemen beare unto the 
thieves and misdoers, and also by occasion of perjurye 
of the Borderers, myne opinion is that yt ys the best 
waye to doe them semblable Justice for England, as 
the Warden of Scotland or his deputy can or may 
obtaine at their hands and no further or otherwayes, 
and so shall they best be brought to Justice and 
otherwayes the Scottes wilbe greate complayners and 
exclamers for Justice, and of there owne parte, 
execute or doe little or none, but take advantage 
of all delaies, evasions, and subterfuges that may 
be profitable to that realme either trewe men or 
thieves.' 1 

Apart from these restrictions and prejudices, how- 
ever, the weakest point in the procedures dealt with 
in the last chapter lay in the fact that if the 
Warden would not ' fyle upon his honour' from 
whatsoever cause and no ' avower ' would come 

1 Richardson, Reprints of Rare Tracts, vol. iv. p. 23. 


forward, the defendant would go free. The 'notori- 
etas facti' might make no appeal to unwilling 
ears, and there is no means of coercing a Warden 
save by referring the matter to the King or 
Council. 1 

The sixteenth-century paper distinctly asserts this 
in the following words : ' Except the Warden himself 
knowing shall acknowledge the fact, or a man of the 
same nation found that voluntarily will avouche it 
(the ordinarie and only waies of trial), be the facte 
never so patent, the delinquent is quit by the laws 
of the Border.' 

But, naturally, if the Warden would not ' confess 
the fact' it would be difficult to procure an avower, 
for the avower might easily incur the displeasure of 
his Warden and his own countrymen. 2 

1 In the mode of holding a March Day, 1585 (Calendar of Border Papers, 
vol. i. p. 194), it is said that ' the manner of triall of ane person is two- 
folde, viz. (1) when the Warden shall, upon his owne knowledge [ex 
notorietate* facti, as it is elsewhere written], confesse the facte, and so 
deliver the partie offending.' If he, however, refused to 'confesse the 
facte,' and so ' deliver upon his honour,' there was (2) a second way of trial, 
' which was by confronting a man of the same nation to averre the fact.' 
This individual would correspond evidently with the 'vower publique' 
of Mr. Bell's manuscript mentioned above ; but there is no mention of 
the third way of trial given by Mr. Bell, of a jury half Scots, half 

[* One of the charges against Sir John Forster was ' that he hath frus- 
trated the English subjectes of redresse, demaunding vower for knowen 
murtheres and day forrayes, and spoyles of whole townshipes, which by the 
customes of the Borders doe avow themselves.' (Calendar of Border Papers, 
vol. i p. 233.)] 

2 The following incident, taken from letters of Sir John Carey and Wm. 
Selby to Burghley in 1596, will sufficiently prove this. A Commission 


Again, there was this further possibility of trouble 
for an ' avower,' that he might be ' backbilled ' 
against. ' Backbilling ' against an avower is dealt 
with in 1596, and confirms what was said above 
as to the difficulty of carrying out this method of 
rendering justice. 

Sections 17 and 18 of the last of the Border Laws 
the indenture of 1596 deal with this possibility of 
' backbilling ' or bringing a charge against such a 

' Yf any man unjustly trouble or offend another 
in word or deed, any time hereafter, for fyling 

was sitting in Berwick at this time, and Ralph Selby, nephew to Sir John 
Selby, gentleman porter, had been ' deposed by the Commissioners whether 
one George Nevill, servant to the Ladie Gray, and Mr. Ralph Gray, had stolen 
certain e cattle from Mr. Walter Carre of Littleden, a Scottish gentleman.' 
Nevell, then, was ' filed ' (found guilty), and in revenge filed a bill brought in 
against Ralph Selby, who, ' knowing himself clear, denied it, and an English 
vower was called on according to custom. One Mr. George Nevell, a tenant 
to Mr. Ralph Grey and a servant to my Lady Grey, vowed this bill against 
Mr. Selby, who was filed. Thereon hot words passed between Selby and 
Nevell, and Mr. Grey being by, hearing the gentleman ill spoken to, defended 
his cause somewhat, whereon some hard words grew between Mr. Selby 
and Mr. Grey, which being in the open court was qualified by the officers 
in time. 

' But the Selbys, as I understand, sent a challenge that night to Mr. Ralph 
Grey and his brother Edward, to meet with the gentleman porter and his 
nephew. It was not in writing, and the Greys refused. But this morning 
Mr. Ralph Selby sent a new challenge to Mr. Edward Grey himself, 
whereon the latter sent a man to the gentleman porter's lodging, desir- 
ing him to meet in the churchyard, where they might debate and 
confer friendly on that matter. They met, but their kindness fell to 
such unkindness, as they fell together by the ears. The gentleman porter 
and Mr. Edward Grey are both hurt, a very honest gentleman of Mr. 
Ralph Grey's killed, and 4 or 5 of either side very ill hurt.' (Calendar of 
Border Papers.) 


any bill hereafter against him, he shall never be 
heard to backbill against the Avower ; and never- 
theless shall be punished therefore by the discre- 
tion of the Warden, according to the quality of the 

' For eschewing of fraudulent drift and delay used 
in backbilling, of purpose to disappoint the avower of 
his proofs which he hath or may have presently to 
verify his word. It is ordained, That whosoever shall 
backbill against any Avower, shall do it against or 
within 40 days after the filing, or else to be excluded 
from the remedy for ever ; and, to that effect, every 
warden shall be bound to hold warden courts, and to 
do justice within 20 days after he shall be required 
by the party, under the pain of paying the bill 

As a Scot was not permitted to bear witness 
against an Englishman, nor vice versa, the outlook 
for a prosecutor must often have proved black and 
the method of avowry a feeble reed to trust in, 
though possibly he might procure an ' avower ' by 
availing himself of the licence allowed by the in- 
denture of 1460 in Edward iv.'s reign, whereby the 
injured party might without any safe-conduct 
within six days of an assault or injury, in the endeavour 
to right himself enter into the opposite march and 
make his complaint and losses known unto some 


inhabitant there of good fame and unsullied repute, or 
else unto the Warden himself. 

The latter-day Borderer must have sometimes 
sighed for the ancient ' duellum ' upon the march 
allowed by the first of all the Border Laws, when he 
found his oath of no avail, the opposite Warden 
refusing to ' fyle,' and no avower forthcoming. 

The powerful chieftain, ' the strong man armed,' 
could take good care of himself, but the poor man 
the ' Jimmy Telfer of the fair Dodhead ' had often a 
hard task to win his own good kye back again, and 
usually he would be driven to pay ' blackmail ' pro- 
tection money even though it was forbidden by the 
Laws of March, in order to ensure protection or at 
least a measure of revenge when his ' gear ' had been 

Even when the Warden, anxiously endeavouring to 
do justice, fyled bills ' upon his honour/ there was 
still the difficulty of capturing his felons and handing 
them over to the opposite Warden. 

If they had hidden themselves, or fled, the Warden 
was in a very uncomfortable position, for he might be 
taxed with equivocation or worse, as Sir John Forster 
was by Carmichael at their meeting on the Keidswire 
in 1575. Again, sometimes he might have to 
surrender his own servant as a pledge, as was pointed 
out in Chapter v., to be handed over to the offended 


party till the guilty person could be found and 
delivered over in his stead or else due reparation 
made by money payment. Thus in 1596 Buccleugh, 
Keeper of Liddesdale, surrendered himself in default 
of his pledges to the English Commissioners at 

The greatest difficulty of all in the obtaining of 
justice, however, lay in arranging the meeting of the 

Continually one reads of one or other Warden 
' making shot ' or ' shotting ' the suggested meet- 
ing: usually the reason was unwillingness to meet 
his opposite because of the heavy list of ' attempts ' 
he would have to answer, but sometimes, of course, 
the meetings were deferred (' shot ') owing to illness 
or a summons from the King or Privy Council. Once 
1 shot ' the meeting was very difficult to bring on 
again, and one reads of Liddesdale not being brought 
to justice for years, as no one was responsible, or at 
least none would admit responsibility, for so fierce a 



' Now, Douglas,' quoth Erie Percy then, 
' Thy proffer I doe scorne ; 
I will not yielde to any Scott 
That ever yet was borne.' 


As representing the sovereigns of their respective 
countries, the Wardens were often as punctilious as 
accredited ambassadors in regard to procedure and 
precedence. It seems, however, that the practice as 
set forth by Mr. Richard Bell, the clerk of the west 
Wardenry, had come to be regarded as fixed, viz. 
that the English Warden should send a messenger 
into Scotland at a day of diet or Warden's meeting to 
' crave assurance ' from the Scots Warden for his entry 
without the formality of meeting upon the actual 
march line. This given, the English Warden would 
advance into Scotland with his chief gentlemen and 
officers, and there was received by the opposite Warden. 

Thus the Lord Dacre, Warden of the West March, 
writes to the Privy Council concerning the meeting 
with the Scots Warden at Lochmabenstone (be- 
side Solway, near Gretna Green) in 1550. 'And 
whereas it hath been used in times past, that the 
said assurance was asked and granted on both parts, 


before the Lord Warden of England passed over the 
water, I thought it meet now for the better mainten- 
ance of the king's title and interest of the debatable 
land to go over the same water into the same de- 
batable, before we either demanded or granted any 
assurance ; where the same was accomplished accord- 
ingly and so proceeded to the place prefixed.' 

But Sir Robert Carey, young, energetic, and deter- 
mined to uphold his Queen's rights to check the 
Scots' pride, refused to follow this practice when 
Warden of the Middle March, and insisted upon re- 
turning to the more ancient method of first meeting 
with the Scots Warden in mid-stream (when the 
march was the river Tweed), and only after that 
passing over into Scotland. 

He thus writes to Cecil in 1598 : 

' On the 12th inst. [September] there was a meet- 
ing appointed betwixt Sir Robert Ker and myself at 
Fyerburn mill hard by Warke Castle : when we both 
came to the place, but met not, by reason he would 
have had me come over the water into Scotland, 
which I refused, except he would meet me in the 
" myd-streamt." So we broke off, appointing a new 
meeting on the 19th hereof at the Cocklaw, which 
is a dry march. There also we differed, for he would 
have me come into Scotland, which I refused unless 
he would come to the very march to fetch me : so 


that there was no likelihood of our meeting at that 
time likewise. My reason for standing more strictly 
on these points was certain proud words uttered by 
certain Scots gentlemen that he sent over to me 
to take assurance which were as follows: "That 
England dyd owe that duty and obedyence to Scot- 
land to come over into Scotland to them at all meet- 
ings upon the Border " to which I took exception, 
telling them I would not refuse to do as other 
Wardens did before me, viz., to meet always at the 
March, and so go over into Scotland and end our 
business there. 

' But I utterly refused to enter and acknow- 
ledge any duty or obedience to Scotland, and said I 
would inform the Queen my mistress of their un- 
seemly words, and if it were her pleasure to yield, I 
would obey her commands. Wherefor I pray you to 
acquaint her Majesty and signify her pleasure against 
our next meeting.' (Calendar of Border Papers.) 

Again, in October of the same year Sir Robert 
Carey writes further on this point to Cecil : 

* By your letter of 29th Sept. received the 4th 
inst. " late in the night " I understand her majesty's 
pleasure to be informed "by whome, from whome, 
and in what manner, these words of obedyence and 
duty were spoken ? " 

' This was as follows : After I had sent to the 


Warden for assurance, and that as accustomed I 
would meet him at the March (which in that place 
was in the myddes of the water), and then with him 
enter Scotland, he sent word by 4 of his company 
that I was to come over the water to the dry land 
of Scotland and he would there receive me. 

* Some dispute arising between me and them, at 
last one of them, John Ker of Corbet house, sayd of 
himself, not from Sir Robert Ker, and he spoke yt to 
me, that yt was an obedience England ought to 
Scotland, ever seynce a warden of their's was slain 
at a day of trew by us, one of Sir Robert Ker his 
ancestors : and at that instant, another of them 
called Andrew Ker of Rocksbrough, sayd to Roger 
Woodryngton, Sandy Fenwyck and others of my 
companye, that seynce that time we have ought 
them that dutye. This was the manner of their 
uttering and it made me more " kuryous " to yield. 
I have made inquiry of the best and oldest borderers 
as to the manner of the Wardens' meeting, and they 
concur that we are to go into Scotland, and end our 
causes of meeting there. 

* But the manner of our meeting ys the thing in 
questyon : it ys for certen that Sir Wylliam Drurye, 
when he was Warden of the East Marche, never met 
but in the myd streame : and after meeting there he 
went into Scotland. 


' The gentleman Porter dyd avow these before the 
Scotes that he had scene his brother meete in the 
myd streame with Sir Robert Ker's father : and so 
dyd a sonn of Sir John Selbye's lykewyse affyrme. 
Dyvers gentlemen of the Myddle Marche dyd there 
avowe that they had scene Sir John Forster do the 

' The Scotes wold allow none of this, but brought in 
proofes of latter tyme how that Sir John Selby, Sir 
John Forster and my Lord Eure, in their tymes dyd 
continually comme into Scotland a good peece before 
they weare mett with the wardens of Scotland : 
which I think to be trew, for the 2 Sir Johns being 
growne old men and loving their ease and quyet, 
knowing that they were to go into Scotland, of latter 
years respected not the meeting at the Marche, but 
went over into Scotland to them : and my Lord Eure 
after their example dyd the lyke. 

'And the Scots are so good natured, that yf we 
give them an inche they wyll take an ell ! and 
would have us follow the later customs. But as the 
ancient Borderers think the first meeting should be 
the very march and the business determined in Scot- 
land, I see no reason to yield more than is due : yet 
if her majesty's pleasure be that I go over before we 
meet, I will obey, having discharged my duty.' 

Finally, in a letter four days later in date from 


Sir William Bowes to Cecil it is written : ' An 
auncient gentleman folower of Sir Robert Bowes, 
telleth me that he carried a great meetinge thus : 
both parties beinge drawne neare the Marche lyne, 
Sir Robert stepped forward unto the Scottish syde 
audiblie speakinge these wordes "/ will loose the 
kinge my master no grounde" clearly coveringe the 
necessitie of his entry hereby.' 

He then proceeds to set forth ' the ground of so 
yielding.' ' It is held by tradition on the Borders/ 
he writes, 'that when a war between the realms 
ended, the Scots must first demand peace. During 
peace, at ordinary meetings, the English must first 
ask assurance. 

'Your honour may learn better on this from the 
heralds than on report of tradition.' Another ground 
is imputed to the slaughter of Sir Robert Ker, great- 
grandfather to this Cessford, slain within English 
ground by one Starrhead, servant to Sir William 
Heron, the English Warden, who, though not present 
that day, was delivered into Scotland by ' that noble 
and just Prince King Henry vu., yet they say the 
Scots swore they would never after come on English 
ground for justice, and by the King's sufferance this 
course has grown.' 

A third traditional reason he also gives, which is 
that formerly the English and Scots princes were 


used to meet on occasions of ' interpelance ' and 
treaty near to a privileged monastery beside Lady 
Kirk which was originally built upon ' Debateable 
grounde.' This ground, however, is now within 
reputed Scottish territory, but the old custom still 

As to the best course to be pursued, 'his opinion 
is that if no treaty or record is found to bind her 
majesty, I see not why common errors should pre- 
judice her rights or safety of her people : especially 
when weighty occasions press for reform as in these 
vain words repeated by Sir Robert Carey, "too 
bigge for any Scottish mowth," or in the treacherous 
tumults and slaughters at the Readswyre, Cocklaw, 
Westfourde and the like, chiefly as the custom forces 
her officers and people to take Scottish trust : which 
I would reform by first fixing the very line dividing 
the 2 realms : and then one realm at one time, and 
the other at the next, may in turn demand as- 
surance, and keep their sessions of justice inter- 

There are also letters to Cecil this same month 
from Sir John Forster and William Selby on the 
subject of march meetings, but nothing definite 
seems to have been arranged, and the more recent 
method seems to have been adhered to during the 
next five years up to the time of the accession of 



James vi. and i. whereby the less important meet- 
ings were held on Scottish ground, while the more 
important discussions were carried on at Berwick or 


' Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ? ' 

The rules of the game were, as we have already 
seen, drawn up by the Commissioners of either king- 
dom, and added to by the Wardens ; but with such 
keen players as the Border chiefs and their followers 
there was a good deal of ' offside ' in the playing, and 
any dispute that might arise was joyfully welcomed 
by the more turbulent as a means of deferring the 
inconvenience of a trial and possible ' hanging/ or 
again as an opportunity to avenge an injury or feud. 
Thus at the ' day of trews ' at Hexpethgate on 
Windy Gyle, in August 1585, when Sir John 
Forster, the English Warden of the Middle March, 
met Ferniehirst, the Scots Warden, the occasion was 
used by Sir Thomas Ker (of Ferniehirst), the Scots 
Warden, to kill Forster's son-in-law, Lord Francis 
Russell, who had sent up to the Lord President 
of the Privy Council some intercepted letters of 
Ferniehirst's and Arran's. 

Now Ferniehirst was a great supporter of Mary 


Queen of Scots, and a great plotter on her behalf, so 
that the defence he put forward afterwards, that ' one 
Wanless ane English boy dyd breake the said assur- 
ance by stealing a paire of spurs, and that his friends 
dyd hurte a Scots man/ seems quite untrue in face of 
Forster's statement, that Sir Thomas Ker ' came not 
only with the force of his own marche, but brought a 
company of the Merse, which neither he nor his prede- 
cessors ever did before and with ensigns, pensells, 
and drums in warlike manner, attacked us while 
sitting quietly calling our bills, and. gave their full 
charge upon us, when Lord Russell was slain, and the 
whole field broken and disordered.' 

Forster had ' offered the boy to be delyvered to be 
hanged, and all things was pacified and done/ and 
the real cause of the breaking of the assurance was 
the interception of ' certain writings beinge in ciphers 
forth of the purse of the berer thereof cominge from 

Forster in his despatch to Walsingham says 
further, ' What yt was I knowe not, but I think yt 
came from Arraine and Pharnihyrste ; but howsoever 
yt came, I know that Pharnihyrste was in a great 
greife with him for yt, which I thinke hath beine a 
greate occacion of the ere well murder upon him, and 
I hope that yt will manifestlie fall owte that the 
Karis [Kers], which are the nearest kinsemen to him 


in all Scotlande, are the killers of him, so that yt 
appeareth that yt is a pretended matter before 
devised by Arraine and Pharnihyrste.' 

A cairn (' slain man's cairn ') was raised on Windy 
Gyle, and may still be seen there to this day, 
which marks the spot where Lord William met his 

Ker, who is said to have been able to raise three 
thousand men within his own march, died the year 
after, and Sir John Forster, reporting the occur- 
rence to Walsingham, concludes as follows : 
' Whereof I am sorry that he and some betters had 
not beine hanged.' 

The breaking of the assurance in this instance, 
then, was due to a private grudge of the Warden's, 
accentuated by political animosity, and in the cele- 
brated fight on the Beidswire it was the pride l of the 
English Warden that provoked the encounter. The 
place of meeting was on the Border, somewhat east 
of Carter Fell in the Middle March, the year 1575, 
the Scots Deputy- War den, Sir John Carmichael, and 
the English Warden, Sir John Forster. 

The Court had been called, and cases were being 

1 The Warden of the East March, Lord Hunsdon, was evidently 
animated by the like sentiment, for he writes thus concerning the occur- 
rence : ' The names of the takers of Sir John Forster, and the rest given 
in were a set of beggarly harlotts and sheep-stealers not worth the 


heard and wrongs redressed, when an Englishman 
(Farnstein), a notorious offender, was demanded by 
the Scots Warden to be delivered up, according to 
March Law, to be the prisoner of the owner of the 
goods stolen until such tune as satisfaction should be 
given for them. 

Farnstein had been 'fouled' on the bill, but on 
Forster's not delivering him up Carmichael expostu- 
lated, and Forster replied with evident resentment. 
This was at once noted by his followers, who backed 
him by letting off a flight of arrows. 

The Border minstrel in the well-known ballad thus 
describes the sudden outbreak : 

' Carmichael bade them speik out plainlie, 

And cloke no cause for ill nor good : 
The other, answering him as vainlie, 

Began to reckon kin and blood ; 
He raise, and raxed him where he stood, 

And bade him match him with his marrows : 
Then Tindaill heard them reason rude, 

And they loot off a flight of arrows. 

Then was there nought but bow and speir, 

And every man pull'd out a brand ; 
A Schafton and a Fenwick thare : 

Gude Symington was slain frae hand. 
The Scotsmen cried on other to stand, 

Frae time they saw John Robson slain 
What should they cry 1 The King's command 

Could cause no cowards turn again.' 


Again, one of the latest and probably the most 
daring and celebrated Border exploit of all was con- 
cerned with the violation of the assurance given at a 
' day of trews/ This resulted in the famous breaking 
into and taking out of Carlisle Castle in 1596 of 
' Kinmont Will ' by the Lord of Buccleugh. 

A Wardens' meeting had been arranged at ' the 
Dayholme of Kershope' for the Western March of 
England by Lord Scrope, and for Liddesdale by Sir 
William Scott, the Laird of Buccleugh, the Keeper, 
who had been raised to the footing of a Warden by 
King James. 

The business had been concluded, and the various 
parties departed amicably, in full assurance of the 
truce, when sundry of the English as they rode by 
the bank of the Liddel noted 'Kinmont Will,' an 
Armstrong against whom they had many an old 
complaint, ' riding on his ways with only three or 
four in companie ' along the opposite bank. 

This was an opportunity not to be missed ' the 
chance of a lifetime ' and forthwith ' they brake a 
chase of more than 200 men out of the English 
trayne, chases the said Win. of Kininmouth more 
than 3 or 4 myles, come to him, and take him 
prisoner, bring him back to the deputie, thinking to 
doe good service by the seizing of such an offender,' 
and carried him away captive to Carlisle. Whereat 


Buccleugh, a proud and fierce young man himself, 
as the Commissioners reported to Burghley, ' flagellum 
Dei to his miserably distressed and oppressed neigh- 
bours' was highly indignant, and, finding himself 
unable to get redress from the opposite Warden, took 
the law into his own hand, and headed a Warden's 
raid into England to deliver ' Kinmont Will ' from 
Carlisle Castle. 

The famous ballad tells how the release was 
effected, and concludes with a vivid picture of Lord 
Scrope, the English Warden, standing in astonish- 
ment by the river side watching the Scots * riding ' 
the flooded Eden on their triumphal return to 


' All sore astonish'd stood Lord Scrope, 

He stood as still as rock of stane ; 
He scarcely dared to trew his eyes, 

When through the waters they had gane. 

He is either himsel' a devil frae hell, 
Or else his mother a witch maun be ; 

I wadna have ridden that wan water 
For a' the gowd in Christentie.' 

Queen Elizabeth, as every one will remember, was 
so highly enraged at this attack upon her castle that 
eventually King James acceded to her demand, and 
reserved the treatment of Buccleugh and Cessford 1 

1 This was Sir R Ker of Cessford, Warden of the Middle March, and 
Buccleugh's brother-in-law. 


'the two firebrands of the March' to her single 

Eventually Buccleugh, in default of his pledges, 
delivered himself up to Sir William Selby, Master of 
the Ordnance of Berwick, and Cessford later on 
entered into ward with Sir Robert Carey, Deputy- 
Warden of the East March, notwithstanding former 
quarrels. ' Such traits,' as Sir Walter Scott points 
out, 'illumine the dark period of which we treat.' 

Yet this final agreement had only been brought off 
after much negotiation long protracted and many 
perils skilfully avoided. 

Even at the meeting of the Commissioners to 
exchange the pledges at the west ford of Norham 
after Buccleugh had given himself up, 'one that 
Sessford had appoynted, shotte of a pistoll, and 
witheall the same man that shott the pistoll laye 
downen alonge uppon his horse redey to fall of, and 
creyed " Slay en, slayen " ; with that another creyed, 
" Tresun, tresun " : whereuppon the fraye began, and 
all ouer sogers on the fare seyd of the water shott to 
or 3 voley of shott, but it was so darke, and they so 
fare of as I thinke they did littyl harme ' so writes 
John Carey to Burghley of Cessford's ' strategem,' 
which might have resulted in slaughter, had it not 
been for the readiness of Lord Home, who commanded 
a large body of horsemen present there. 


Enough, however, has been said to show the 
extreme difficulty in attaining justice, for when the 
Wardens themselves broke the laws of the marches 
why should an inferior not follow their example "? 

' Quis custodiet ipsos custodes 1 ' 




' He knew each ordinance and clause 
Of Black Lord Archibald's battle laws 
In the old Douglas' day.' 

SCOTT, Lay of the Last Minstrd. 

THE English Warden within his own march was like 
a king of Israel during the absence of Elijah. He 
had an absolute free hand in the sphere of * March 
Treason/ for he could practically himself determine 
what was March Treason and what not. 

Thus Sir John Forster, replying to certain ' charges 
exhibited' against him, cheerfully accepts that one 
which states ' that he hathe caused diverse persons 
to be indited arraigned and condempned in his owne 
dwelling house, and thereupon put to execution and 
theire lives taken from theme, not proclaiminge or 
callinge a warden courte, accordinge to the lawe or 
custome of the Borders.' 

' He sayeth he hath doon as is mencioned, and 
dothe avowe yt to be laweful by vertue of his commis- 
sion, to be doon in any place within the wardenrie.' 


Lord Hunsdon was of a like way of thinking, and 'more 
given to hanging than either hunting or hawking.' 

The English Warden, then, had power of life and 
death as he sat in his Court with his jury trying 
cases of March Treason, but he was not supposed to 
do the ordinary civil and criminal work of the judges 
at the Assize and general gaol delivery, though he 
seems to have apprehended thieves and malefactors 
and sent them to the Assizes 1 for their 'justification.' 
The ' use of March/ probably, would cover certain 
irregularities in so rough a district, and a man taken 
stealing * red-handed,' or ' in the manner,' as the 
phrase ran, would pay the penalty of death at the 
hands either of the sufferer or the Warden without 
any trial at all. The difficulty of obtaining justice by 
proper legal method may be illustrated by the follow- 
ing episode : 

The Lord Dacre in 1518 ' having arrested 10 of the 
principal thieves of Redesdale, and having put them 
in irons within the dungeon of Harbottle Castle, sent 
for the gaoler and bailiff of the shire to convey them 
to Morpeth.' 

1 At times, it appears, the Judges and Wardens sat together at a general 
gaol delivery. Kalph, Lord Eure, an inexperienced Warden, writes thus 
to Burghley : he desires a commission of gaol delivery and the assistance 
of the Council of the North or the Judges, ' I desire to keep a Warden 
court the next day following, for as it " toucheth life," I desire the assist- 
ance of the "gravest" of the north, and their experience in justice, to the 
terror of the wicked.' (Calendar of Border Papers, vol. ii.) 


To prevent a rescue, Lord Dacre summoned his 
Harbottle tenantry, to the number of eighty, to which 
were added his own household servants. Setting out 
from Harbottle the prisoners were safely conveyed as 
far as Rothbury gate, where they were handed over 
to the gaoler and his escort ; but the prisoners' 
friends, the sturdy men of Redewater, being apprised 
of the movement crossed the moors behind Simonside, 
and overtaking the convoy at a straight path in 
Rothbury forest, killed the bailiff and six of the 
escort, took the gaoler and four of his men prisoners, 
and having released their ten kinsmen fled for refuge 
into Scotland. 1 

In Scotland, however, the Warden's power of hold- 
ing courts and administering punishment in his 
Wardenry was much more limited ; in fact, ' March 
Treason ' in the Scottish records is very rarely heard 


Lord Dacre in describing the event thus concludes : ' And yet that 
notwithstanding the said Highelandes men of Riddesdale had suche espiell 
and kepit them secrete and close. And at a strayt pathe mett my said 
tennantes, and killed my ballif of Morpeth and other 6 persones his neigh- 
bors, and took the gaoler and other iiij persons with hym and had them 
into Scotland, where as yet the said gaoller and some other with hym sittes 
in preson, whereof I have made conipleynte to the Wardain, and so to the 
lordes of Scotland, and trustes to have remedie thereof. Ther is fled into 
Scotland to the nomber of xxij of the principal persons and the residue 
ar fledd into other partis where as yett they ar nott knowen of. And 
diverse other persons that cam to this same effrey I have takin in upon 
suyrties of ther good abering. And this is the verey troughe of the mattir. 

' Thos. Lord Dacre to Wolsey, 23rd Dec. 1518, from Harbottle Castle.' 
See Charlton's North Tynedcde, pp. 37, 38. (Carr, Newcastle-on-Tyne.) 


of. The offences comprised under this term, so 
frequently used on the English Border, were doubtless 
much the same in either country, but their punish- 
ment rested in Scotland with the Sheriff Courts 
and hereditary jurisdictions of the Barons or with 
special Justiciars as is shown later in Part ii. of 
Chapter xiu. appointed by the King. Thus ' March 
Treason,' as it would have been called in England, 
would probably have been termed in Scotland merely 
' criminal causes.' * By an act of the Scottish Parlia- 
ment in 1587 death was the penalty to be inflicted 
on any Scots subject who married an Englishwoman 
without licence under the Great Seal ; and again, by 
an Act of 1523 a Scottish subject who received an 
Englishman or woman was liable to suffer death, but 
the penalty would not have been inflicted by a 
Warden without a special commission. 

On the other hand, in England these offences 
would be punished by the Wardens, for according 
to clause 2 in Mr. Bell's MS. it was March Treason 
' if any Englishman hath married with any Scots- 
woman or confederate in friendship, without the Lord 

1 Clause v. of ' the order to be observed in the Stewart Court of Annan- 
dale ' (Leges Marchiarum, Appendix ii. p. 190) runs as follows : 

' Item, It is appointed, that all Criminal causes, sic as assisters with 
England, Resetters of them and their goods, Committers of Murder, Fyre, 
Kavishing of Women, Stouth, and sic like, to be committed to themselves, 
and before all others to be taken order with, be an famous and unsuspected 
Assize, according to the ancient Laws of this Kealme.' 


Warden's license,' though it was not apparently 
punished by the death penalty. 

Balfour, again, in his Scots Practices says that it 
was the Warden's duty to apprehend those who had 
carried horses, nolt, sheep, etc., into England, and 
' present them to the king's justice,' whereas the 
English Wardens would have themselves tried equi- 
valent cases and inflicted punishment in their own 
Warden's Courts. 

It would seem that the code of ' March Treason ' 
supplemented the enactments of the Leges Mar- 
chiarum, which were, as we have already seen in 
Chapter v., in the first instance ' Truces and Abstin- 
ences from War ' between the two kingdoms, so that it 
may be said to be derived from a threefold source, 
viz. from the Border Laws, 1 from any Acts of Parlia- 
ment that dealt with the Border, as well as from the 
various agreements entered into by the Wardens 

1 In 1468 ' the statutes, ordinances and uses of marche ' were put in 
order and writing, and sworn to by the Earl William Douglas and ' eldest 
borderers at Lincluden. They had originally' been ordained in Black 
Archibald of Douglas's day (viz. Sir Archibald ' the grim,' Earl of Douglas 
and Warden of West March, who died in 1400), ' and Archibald his son's 
days (viz., Archibald, fourth Earl of Douglas,' ' the Tyneman,' Lord Warden 
General of all the Marches), in time of warfare. There are eighteen in all 
of these early Border Laws, and they deal with disobedience to the Warden, 
taking of prisoners, receiving of prisoners, ' intercommoning ' with English- 
men, the sustaining of beacons, pursuit on firing the beacons, and so on. 
These ' uses of Marche,' originally made for the Scottish Border, seem also, 
or their equivalents, to have been accepted in England, for there is a copy 
of them in Mr. Bell's MS. (the oft-mentioned west Warden's clerk in 
Queen Elizabeth's reign). See History of Westmorland and Cumberland, 
voL L p. xli. 


concerning Border rule, all of which the Warden's 
clerk was supposed to be acquainted with. Mr. Bell 
concludes his list of offences with this exhortation : 

' And he that is Clerk of this Court must have 
foresight and special regard, to search and learn, what 
new laws, orders and statutes are made from time to 
time, by any Act of Parliament, or at any day of 
Marche, between the lords Wardens of England and 
Scotland, concerning any law of Marches, or any 
other cause inquirable in this court, and add the 
same to his charge.' 

These ' charges ' of March Treason ' appear to be 
fourteen in number according to Bishop Nicholson's 
order to keipe a Warden's Court,' as quoted in the 
Leges Marchiarum, but in ' the order of keeping a 
Warden Court in cases of March Treason,' set forth 
by Mr. Richard Bell, the charges are set down as 
twenty- three in number. 1 

Fourteen of the clauses in the two sets of charges 
are alike : the nine further charges given by Mr. Bell 
deal with further acts of intercommuning between 
Englishmen and Scotsmen, which are also, of course, 
distinctly forbidden. 

Certain of the offences might have been brought 
up and dealt with at a ' Day of March ' or meeting 
of the opposite Wardens, but doubtless it would 

1 History of Westmorland and Cumberland, vol. i. pp. xxvi.-viii. 


expedite justice to have them more swiftly adjudged 
at the Court of March Treason of the English 
Warden 1 or by the Sheriff or Stewart Courts in 

Thus the sections 8 and 9 of the March Treason 
code run as follows : ' Also, ye shall inquire, if any 
Englishman hath attempted or done anything to the 
breaking of the peace taken between the Queen's 
Majesty and the Scots Queen, or the Commissioners 
or Wardens, to the subjects or liegemen of the said 
Scots Queen, as in killing any of them, assaulting, 
forreying, or robbing any of them, within the realm 
of Scotland.' 

' Also, if any Englishman have murdered, assaulted, 
affrayed, or robbed any Scotsman within the realm of 
England, coming in by the authority of the safe- 
conduct of the said Lord Warden, his deputy or 

The clauses of March Treason in general, then, are 
concerned with the intercommuning and dealing with 
Scotsmen to the prejudice of the march under the 
governance of the English Warden. They are all 
given in Burn and Nicholson's introduction to their 


The Keeper of Tynedale appears also to have held a subordinate Court 
of his own, for it is stated in the ' view ' of Sir Robert Bowes in 1541 that 
' At the said Warke (in Tynenale) ys there a courte or lawe daye kepte at 
such tymes as the kep' of Tynedale doth appoynte the same.' 


History of Westmorland and Cumberland, see 
pp. xxvi. -xxviii. 

Usually about a fortnight before a Warden Court 
was held ' Monicion and warning ' would be given 
thereof ' by proclamation, throughe all the marketts 
within the marches where the said Warden Court is 
to be kept, that all gentlemen, freeholders, officers, 
and headsmen borderers, should be attendant at the 
said Warden Courte (speciallye such as be bounde to 
appear at the same or that have any matters of 
complaint to be ordered there).' 

The Court being assembled, the proceedings were 
as follows : 

' The Warden Serjeant to make an Oyez, pronounc- 
ing the words following : 

' All men keep silence, and hear the Queen's Majesty's 
commission of Wardenry read. 

1 After the commission is read, the Warden Serjeant 
must return his precept with the panel. 

' That done, call, All gentlemen that be summoned to 
serve the Queen's Majesty in this court, come and make 
your appearance, and every man answer to your 
names at thejirst call. 

' Then, when as many have appeared as will form a 
jury, give them the oath : first to the foreman in the 
words following, "Ye shall truly inquire, and true pre- 
sentment make of all things that shall be given unto 


you in charge: the Queen's counsel, your fellows, and 
your own, you shall keep and not disclose. So help 
you God at his holy dome" 

' Then call the rest to the book, by four at once or 
more, giving them their oath in this wise : 

' " Heard you the oath your foreman hath taken : all 
such oath as your foreman on his behalf hath made, 
you and every one of you on your behalf shall make. 
So help you God" 

' Then say aloud : 

' " Gentlemen that be sworn, come near and hear 
your charge" 

'Then read them the charge distinctly as follows.' 

(Here follows the first clause, dealing with treason- 
able intercourse with the inhabitants of the opposite 

' Ye shall inquire of March treason, that is to say, 
where any Englishman trists or intercommuneth or 
bringeth in any Scotsman to come into the realm, in 
time of peace or war, to do any slaughter, to burn, to 
rob, steal, or do any other offence within the realm.' 

When the charge had been read through by the 
Lord Warden, the jury would go apart whilst another 
Oyez was made, calling : 

' All men that have any complaint or bills concern- 
ing matters triable in this Warden Court, come and 
put them in, and ye shall be heard.' 


Then recognisances were to be called and sureties 
taken ; the jury return with their bills. 

The prisoners are brought to the bar and addressed 
by the Warden : 

'A. B., thou art here indicted, for that thou, etc.' 
(here the indictment is read). 

' How sayest thou by this March treason, art thou 
guilty, or not guilty ? ' 

If he pleaded not guilty he was to be tried ' By 
God and the Country.' 

He is then confronted with the jury and asked 
what he could say for himself. 

Another Oyez is now made, and the Warden 
addresses his jury : 

' Gentlemen that be sworn for delivery betiveen the 
Queen's majesty and the prisoners at the bar, come 
near and hear your charge. 

' Your charge is, to inquire and find, whether A. B. 
prisoner at the bar be guilty or not guilty of the 
March treason he standeth indicted and arraigned of, 
and whether he be fled upon the fact done or not, and 
if you find him guilty, then what lands, goods, and 
tenements he was seized of at the committing of the 
said treason or Jlying, in the shire or elsewhere within 
the realm, and of what value they were.' 

Then follows a call for any man who will give 
evidence for the Queen's Majesty. If the jury find 


the prisoner guilty the Lord Warden calls him by 
name, and, bidding him hold up his hand, thus 
addresses him : 

'Forasmuch as thou A. B. hast been indicted of 
March treason, and thereupon arraigned, and pleaded 
not guilty, and put thyself upon God and the country, 
and they have found thee guilty : wherefore this court 
doth accord thou shalt be had hence unto the place 
from whence thou came, and from thence to the place 
of execution, and there to have thy head smitten from 
thy body according to the law of the Marches' 

The Warden then commands his officers to ' see 
execution done upon these persons, according to the 
law of Marches, at your peril/ 

Then the Lord Warden might, if it pleased him 
(and we can imagine one possessed of ' a port or a 
presence' or a good voice being much pleased with 
the opportunity), ' exhort the prisoner in this wise : 
or let some godlie man instruct theym.' The follow- 
ing exhortation is taken from Bishop Nicholson's 
Leges Marchiarum : 

' Ye that are adjudged by ordre of Lawe of this 
Realme to dye, remember that ye have but a short 
tyme to leve in this world : therefore Earnestly call 
to God, with penytent harts, for Mercye and Forgive- 
ness of your Synnful Lyves : repent ye have broken 
God's commandment, and be sory therefor : and for 


that ye did not feir the bretche and dangers of the 
Lawes, therefor, youer bodies must suffer the paynes 
of Death, provided to satisfye the rewarde of your 
fact in this world : yet the Salvation of youer Saulles 
healthe, for the world to come, stands in the great 
mercye of Almightie God : wherefor do ye earnestly 
repent, and ask mercye for yower synnes, now when 
ye are levynge, put yower trust to be savede by the 
merits of Grists passion ; and think in youer harts yf 
ye wer able to recompense theme ye haive offendit, ye 
wold do it : and where yowe are not able, aske for- 
giveness ; Have such faithe in god's mercye as 
Dismas the thefe and man murderer hade that hung 
at Grists right hand, when he suffrede his passion for 
the redemption of mankynde : whos faith was so great 
he shoulde be saved, his synnes wer remytted, tho he 
had but short time of repentance, and he enjoyede 

( Therefor despayr not in God's mercye, tho yower 
sinnes be great, for God's mercye excedith all his 
workes. Set apart all vanities of the World, and 
comfurth yowe in hevynlye things ; and doubt not but, 
yf ye so doe, ye shall inheryt everlasting joy in the 
kingdom of Hevyn. And thus I commytt yowe to the 
mercye ofGode, wishinge yower deathes may be exemple 
to all Parynts to bring up theyr childre in the Feyr 
of Gode, and obidience of the Lawes of this realme.' 


After which instruction the prisoner was taken 
from ' the Barre,' and the Court was adjourned by 
the Lord Warden. 

' All manner of men that have more to do at this 
Court, before my Lord Warden : keip yower day here 
upon a new warnynge; and so for this tyme depart in 
Gods peace and the Queues. 

' God save the Quene.' 

From the foregoing it would appear that death was 
the penalty in every case of March Treason, but 
apparently in later times this was only inflicted for 
the graver offences of felony. 

Indeed, that death could not have been the invari- 
able penalty for March Treason is proved by the fact 
that Sir Robert Bowes gives ' another forme for 
offences which be not punishable by deathe,' the form 
of indictment seeming to vary in this event and to 
be without the words proditorie and contra pacem 
Dominae Regis et leguntiam suam. The instance he 
gives is of an Englishman intercommuning with a 
Scotsman and selling him a ' horse coloure baye con- 
trary e to the lawes and statutes of this realme of 
England and his dutie of obedience to the same.' 

According to the apocryphal story of Lord William 
Howard of Naworth (Sir Walter Scott's 'Bauld 
Willie,' who yet was never a Warden), that gentle 
and studious nobleman was horrified to see the corpse 


of a moss-trooper swinging from a tree beside the 
Bailey as he went forth to take the air, and still more 
to be informed that his testy exclamation, ' Oh, hang 
him ! ' on being interrupted in his studies had been 
literally applied to the corpus vile before his eyes. 

The majority of Lord Wardens would have cordially 
agreed with Lord Braxfield that a Border pricker or 
moss-trooper would be ' nane the waur of a hanging,' 
and would have often anticipated by their deeds the 
Border Law of 1596, that ran as follows : 

' The most sufficient and discreet Borderers ' of the 
marches of either realm are to ' make diligent enquiry 
and tryal of all notorious thieves and robbers within 
their Wardenry.' A copy is then to be handed to the 
Warden, ' who shall, upon the first attempt that shall 
be truly tryed and fyled upon ane of them hereafter, 
put the said offender immediately to death.' 





1st Watchman. Watcher at the ford, your streams run low, 
Did any rider cross ? Did any go 
Your way beneath the moon 1 

2nd Watchman. The moon is young. I saw the crescent stoop 
Till imaged in the pool her silver loop, 
No more she set too soon. 

1st Watchman. Watcher, heard you at the strait no sound 
Of feet that stumbled on the stony ground, 
Where one might take the hill ? 

2nd Watchman. I heard the water wash among the weeds, 
A hunting otter rustled in the reeds, 
Naught else the night was still. 

1st Watchman. The night was still, I rode beside the stream. 
Heard you no cry ? I saw a lanthorn gleam, 
For what searched you the wood ? 

2nd Watchman. There screamed some vermin tangled in a snare, 
It was a thieving fox that I found there, 
And flung him to the flood. 

1st Watchman. Watcher, where you marked the drift-wood ride 
The flood, saw you naught else go down the tide ? 
At dawn the spate rose high. 

2nd Watchman. Above this ford you know the haughs are green, 
And many cattle graze. I may have seen 
A foundered steer go by. 



IF any one were in doubt as to the perpetual unrest 
upon the Border he need but turn to the ' Orders of 
the Watches' upon the West, Middle and East 
Marches made by the Lord Wharton, Lord-Deputy 
General of all the three Marches, under my Lord of 
Northumberland's Grace, Lord Warden General of all 
the said Marches, in the month of October, in the 
sixth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King 
Edward VL, for therein he will note that the 
entire line of the Border was to be watched both 
night and day. In the day-time the watches were 
set upon the heights so as to guard the various tracks 
or passages ; at night the fords over the various 
rivers were chiefly guarded. Any ' true men known, 
and that proved ' coming within those waters are to 
be allowed to depart ; if unknown, they are to be 
brought to the ' Baylifs and Constables to be tryed.' 
There, if not ' labouring in their true and lawful 
business/ they are to be sent to gaol, and finally tried 
by the General, the Deputy Warden, or by the Jus- 
tices of Peace of these counties. (Leges Marchiarum.) 

These watches were ' to begin the first night of 
October, and to continue unto the sixteenth day of 
March : and the same sooner to begin, or longer to 
continue at the discretions of the General, or of the 
Deputy Warden for the time being.' 

The night watch had ' to be set at the Day-going, 


and to continue unto the Day be light ; and the Day 
watch, where the same is, to begin at the Daylight, 
and to continue unto the Day be gone. And, if any 
Person or Persons disobey any of the said Watchers, 
Baylifs, Constables, Setters, Searchers, or Overseers, 
in, or for the execution of the said Watch, in any 
manner of wise : he or they so disobeying to be 
brought to the king's Highness gaol, there to be 
punished at the discretion of the General, or of the 
Deputy -Warden for the time being, where such 
offence shall be done.' 

The Borderers were said to be without any know- 
ledge of the Sixth and Eighth Commandments, and 
when they prayed as Bishop Lesley assures us they 
commonly did before running their ' forays ' cattle 
rather than ' daily bread ' would be the object of 
their desire. It will be noted that the watches were 
only set during the winter months ; but even during 
spring and summer, when ' trade was slack ' and they 
turned to pasturing their cattle about their ' shiels ' 
on the hill-tops, there was constant danger of ' nowt,' 
sheep, nags or goats disappearing, and of ' the fray ' 
being brought to the door of the quiet householder. 
Yet there was a distinct respite during these months, 
and the inhabitants must have been glad to be quit 
of the weary and dangerous duty of guarding by day 
and night the passages and fords along the Border. 


This was no light duty that the inhabitants of the 
various townships had to perform, and the 'setters 
and searchers of the watch,' who were the gentry of 
the immediate countryside, had to see that the 
watchers duly performed their watch and ward, under 
pain of being themselves fined for neglect. 

Thus endlong the Border the ward and watch were 
set chosen from the members of each township 
guarding passage and track, water and ford through 
the twenty-four hours. Two men usually formed the 
watch ; and as they stood, grumbling and cheerless, in 
the dark night, a voice might suddenly hail them, and 
two searchers might ride up to make a hasty in- 
spection, and return through the sleet of a winter's 
storm to their warm inglenook within their Pele 
towers. Further, there was an overseer sometimes as 
well, and every energetic land serjeant or Warden's 
officer or 'King's Highness Servant' would be in- 
terested in seeing that the watches were duly kept. 

Thus at Cryssopford, for example, the four watchers 
there might at any time during a winter night be in 
danger from a sudden raid from Liddesdale. Per- 
haps the Elliots or Armstrongs would be riding to 
avenge a ' deadly feud,' or the Robsons of Tynedale to 
' learn them ' a lesson in manners, and impress on their 
memory that the ' next time gentlemen came to take 
their sheep they were no to be scabbed.' Then again 


beside the Earl Seat the two shivering watchers 
might be swiftly set upon by a plump of Scots under 
the leadership of Buccleugh (the ' flagellum Dei ' as 
the Commissioners reported him to Burghley), who 
might be coming to demand his sword, which the 
Charltons kept at Hesleyside Tower. They stood in 
almost as many perils as St. Paul, these watchers, 
since for any shirking in the fighting which was 
dangerous enough in itself they were liable to the 
penalty of ' March Treason,' viz. a heading or hanging 
at the Lord Warden's hand. Lest, however, the 
modern should revolt over the barbarousness of the 
past, we must remember that even in our own day 
the police have to keep watch and ward throughout 
our towns, and that every night coastguardsman 
meets coastguardsman along the length of our coast. 

Human nature remains much the same throughout 
the ages. Thieves have gone from the countryside 
and now congregate in the towns. 

An interesting point as to these watchers and 
searchers, who are individually named by Lord 
Wharton in his ' Orders of the Watches,' is that their 
descendants still inhabit the same district, so that if 
unhappily the same necessity still existed the same 
names would often appear in the Warden's lists. 

For example, ' in the order of the Day Watch for 
North Tyndaill ' it is ordered that, ' The inhabitants of 


the Newtons, Charlton-yaite, Charlton, Langhaughe, 
the Redyns, Ryding, the Shaw, and [Billingham] 
Bellingham shall watch at the Whythughe with 2 
men in the Watch : William Charlton of Billingham, 
and John Robson, to be Setters and Searchers of that 
watch'; and any one reading this and being acquainted 
with North Tynedale will recognise in the names of 
the setters and searchers two representatives of the 
' four graynes ' of old time who still flourish about 
Bellingham in the twentieth century. 

This Lord Wharton the organiser of the watch 
and ward was one of the Tudor ' new men ' who swept 
with a hard besom ; and it is with a sort of Roman 
military precision that he parcelled out the Southern 
Border into its day and night watches along its 
entire length. Not only are the watchmen, as well 
as the 'setters and searchers/ specified by name 
throughout, but letters were written by him to the 
chief gentry ' to see and cause the watch to be set, 
searched and kept in due order, as particularly in 
every charge hereafter appeareth/ 

One set of his letters given from the castle of 
Carlisle ran as follows : 

' After my hearty commendation, I doubt not but you 
see the watches surely set and kept from unto in 
such form as the same heretofore hath been accustomed, 
and by open proclamation commanded; nevertheless, 


for the better execution, and that none offenders therein 
shall have none excuse for lake of warning, I shall 
require you on the Kings Majesties behalf, to give such 
notice and knowledge to all the Townshipps through 
the said Watches, as they may be most surely kept at 
their perils, least by privy search the fault be found, 
which will run to the extreme punishment of the 
offenders, according to the Kings Highness Laws. 

* Fail you not thereof, as ye tender his Majesties 
pleasure, and the commonwealth of his graces subjects, 
and heartily fare you well' 

As Captain of Carlisle and Warden of the West 
March, then as Deputy- Warden General of the three 
Marches, and finally as Warden of the Middle and 
Eastern Marches to which he had been transferred 
owing to a 'deadly feud' with the Maxwells for hanging 
their ' pledges ' he had an unrivalled experience of 
Border life. 

There is also given in the Appendix to the Leges 
Marchiarum a further copy of ' Letters from my 
Lord Wharton, for search of the said watches upon 
the Middle Marches ; with the Kalendar of the 
Gentlemen Searchers and their several Circuits/ 
given from the ' Castle of Alnewyke/ 

Again, there is a copy of several commissions * of 
his to certain gentlemen for the damming and 
stopping sundry Fords and Passages upon the waters 


of South Tyne, North Tyne, Reyd and other waters 
and passages by land in Northumberland.' 

Finally, in the same book is also a copy given of 
his instructions for inclosings and hedgings within 
the limits and bounds of Northumberland, with the 
several circuits and the names of the gentlemen put 
in trust for the execution of the same ; this was for 
' the advancement of his Highness' Service and the 
preservation and commonwealth.' 

This seems not to have been carried out save on the 
Western Border the time was not ripe yet for such 
peaceful ideals but various suggestions in his final 
survey of the three marches to his superior, the Lord 
Warden General, Northumberland, doubtless bore 

It is evident, therefore, how thorough Lord Wharton 
was in his office, and it is highly interesting to read 
through these orders of his for the various watches, 
for you will encounter at the various fords, passages 
and crags many well-known ' names/ and meet among 
the 'setters and searchers' representatives of many 
ancient families. The extreme Western March seems 
to have been in the charge of the Barony of 
Burgh, Cardronocks watching to Bowness, Bowness 
to Glasson, and Glasson to Drumburgh, etc. ; but the 
orders start with, ' Beginning at the foot of Levin, 
and so up, Esk to Liddisdaile: in Esk, 8 several 


Watches to be appointed, and in every watch 2 

At Bamburgh the order of the watch for the East 
Border ends thus, ' The Town of Bamburge keeping 
watch with 2 men nightly, and to watch between 
Hoppen and Luckerford,' the day watch finishing JLt, 
Carham, ' Charram, to watch Chillaw with one man 
on the day.' 

There were yet ' Watches alongst the water of 
Tyll' and the 'Water of Twede ' to be enumerated, 
and finally thirty-nine fords on the water of Tyll, 
' which the tenants of the foresaid Townes will 
damm and stop, because they are not able to watch 

' Plump ' Watches are also occasionally mentioned 
in connection with keeping order throughout the 
country, though the term is not used in the Leges 
Marchiarum. A ' plump watch ' (cp. a ' plump of 
spears,' a ' plump shower ') would seem to have been 
an extraordinary watch, set when the country was 
especially disturbed, and consisting of a considerable 
number of men, viz. forty, as in those set by Edward 
Gray, Constable of Morpeth, who wrote as follows 
to the Warden (Lord Eure) concerning the outrages 
of ' house thieves on forraine borderers ' : he had 
arranged for ' the plump watch in 7 places to be 
kept by as many gentlemen of the ward and att 

1 B K R N I C V M 

ESssr y 

I ttt 

mmmmi^^f*"? r?*^mmm**~*~- S *-^- . . 




every place everie leader to chouse oute XL men out 
of his divisyon.' 1 

Again, William Selby the elder, writing to William 
Selby the junior, says, ' None of your friends dare lie 
in their beds at night, but hide themselves in the 
fields, except such as lie in towers' on account of 
Cessford's harryings ' I then desired Sir Robert 
[Carey, the Warden] to make the countrie keep 
"plump watches," but nothing was done.' 2 

. . PART II 


' They rode the moon out of the sky, 
Their hoofs drummed in the dawn.' 


Reparabit cornua Phoebe, the motto or slogan of 
the Scotts, would be eagerly repeated by their 
followers when the Michaelmas moon that was to 
dower their daughters showed golden upon the 

Now to ride by the light o' the moon across the 
wastes and flows of the moors and grass lands is no 
easy undertaking, and the first requisite is an entire 
knowledge of the tracks that run dark and devious 

1 Calendar of Border Papers, vol. ii. p. 452. 2 Ibid., TO! ii. p. 213. 



amongst the heather, and through the peaty bogs, 
where often indeed the only safety lies in dismounting 
and leading your horse by the bridle, even as Hobbie 
Noble of old according to the ballad. 

' He has guided them o'er moss and muir, 
O'er hill and hope, and mony a down ; 
Until they came to the Foulbogshiel, 

And there, brave Noble, he lighted down.' 

In an interesting leaflet (No. 287) of the Historical 
Association on ' Some Influences of the Geography of 
Northumberland upon its History,' it is sought to 
show that the routes taken by the forayers of old 
were largely chosen out of geographical considerations. 

Thus a ' Raider's Line ' is given as from Carham on 
the Tweed to Chollerford via Harbottle. Doubtless 
for an army equipped with ordnance good roads, and 
passes, and gaps through the hills are of first import- 
ance, but the raiders on their little horses, and 
knowing the moors very well, were able to ' run their 
raid' and 'drive their prey' by tracks right across the 
fells. 1 

Though these raiders seem to have come from all 
quarters, as evidenced by the fact that all the high 
ground was watched during the day, and the fords at 

1 The writer was once advised by a well-known Borderer, in the event of 
his not knowing his way from one place to another, to ' keep always the 
crown of the hill,' which experience has shown to be very good advice. 


night, yet, doubtless, there were certain favourite 
places where the marchmen ' most did congregate.' 

Thus Bewcastle dale and Spade Adam ' waste ' 
were open spaces where the 'spate' of Scottish 
' Hobilers ' came pouring through. Lord Dacre wrote 
to Cardinal Wolsey in 1528 as follows : 

'Like it also your grace, seeing the disordour 
within Scotland, that all the mysguyded men, 
Borderers of the same, inhabiting within Eskdale, 
Ewsdale, Walghopedale, Liddesdale, and a part of 
Tividale foranempst Bewcastledale and a part of 
the Middle Marches of this the King's Bordours, 
enters not this West and Middle Marches, to do any 
attemptate to the King our said soveraine's subjects ; 
but thaye come thorow Bewcastelldale, and retornes, 
for the most parte, the same waye agayne.' 

Again, take the following passage from Musgrave's 
report on the Border riders to Burghley in 1583 and 
you will find another route given for Liddesdale. 
' When Leddisdall people make anie invacions to the 
Fenwickes, they goe without (viz., outside, or east of) 
Bewcastell xi or xii myles, and goe by the Perlfell 
without the Horses heade nere Kelder, and so alonge 
abone Chepchase. 

'When they goe to the water of Tyne (viz., the 
South Tyne), they goe by Kyrsopp head, and without 
the gele Crage, and by Tarnbek and Bogells gar and 


so alonge by the Spye Crage, and the Lampert, and 
come that waye/ 

Again, as Sir John Selby writes to Burghley a few 
years later the Liddesdale men rode also into the 
East March 'These Liddesdale men are the most 
disordered of all the Border, they come in great 
bands through Tevedall and the Marc (Merse) into 
these East marches, and return with their booty 
quietly the same way, without resistance, for they 
have no warden to answer for them by Border Law.' 

There was an old Border proverb concerning the 
men that dwelt within ' the swyres ' of the Liddel, 
which was evidently drawn from bitter experience, 
for ' to ride night and day like the Liddesdale men ' 
was a common expression. 

There were along the Middle March alone no fewer 
than forty-four ' passages and byeways for the theefe,' 
as you may read in No. 853, Calendar of Border 
Papers, 1597, wherein is set forth a ' breafe of the 
bounders wayes and passages of the Middle Marche 
all along the border of Scotland, beginning att 
Chiveat hill being the lemyet of the Easte Marche 
and ending att Kirsop the bounder of the West 
Marche of Englande.' 




' Et insuper ad signa, vocata Bekyns, in locis consuetis, per quae gentes 
Patriae de adventu inimicoruin proditorum et rebellium praedictorum 
congruis temporibus possunt praemuniri, poni et supervideri ac separari et 
emendari faciendum.' RYMEB, Foedera. 

' As stars arise upon the night, 
They gleam'd on many a dusky tarn, 
Haunted by the lonely earn ; 
On many a cairn's great pyramid, 
Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid ; 
Till high Dunedin the blazes saw, 
From Soltra to Dumpender Law ; 
And Lothian heard the Eegent's order, 
That all should bowne them for the Border.' 

SCOTT, The Lay of the Last Minstrel. 

THE watches were set along the English Border 
between Berwick and Carlisle, but the Scottish watch 
and ward extended far to the west of this, stretching 
into Annandale, whilst bale fires were to be lit even 
as far west as Gallow Hill in Moffat parish. In the 
earliest code of the ' statutes, ordinances, and uses of 
March' (temp. 1468), mentioned in Chapter VIL, the 
beacons are named and their sustentation enjoined. 

Again, we read in the Appendix to the Leges 
Marchiarum that the ' ane wise stout man ' who kept 
the House of Howdam has ' assuredly to take heed, 


that the watch-house of Trailtrow be keeped by the 
watch thereof: and in time of warfare, the Beaken, 
as is devised, that is even in Weir, and in Peace, the 
watch to be keeped on the House-head and in the 
Weir, the Beacon in the Firepan to be keeped and 
never faill burning, so long as the Englishmen remain 
in Scotland ; and with ane Bell to be on the Head of 
the Firepan, which shall ring whenever the Fray is, 
or that the watchman seeing the thieves disobedient 
come over the water of Annand, or thereabout, and 
knowes them to be enemies : and whosoever bydes 
fra the Fray, or turns again so long as the Beaken 
burns, or the Bell rings, shall be holden as Partakers 
to the enemies, and used as Traitors to the Head 
Burgh of the Shyre, upon the Court day, and there- 
after intimation made in the Parish Kirk, and 
published on ane Sunday, in presence of the People, 
and fra thenceforth to be used as a fugitive, and 
disobedient Person.' 

And in 1587 an act of the Scottish Council orders 
the lieges to ' keip watch nycht and day, and burne 
bailies acording to the accustomed ordour observit at 
sic tymes upon the bourdouris.' 

In England bale fires or beacons were ordered by 
Edward I. to be ready prepared against and instantly 
lit on the approach of the Scots to the county of 
Lancaster. His precept to the Sheriff of Lancaster 


runs thus : ' Praecipimus etiam tibi, quod super 
cacumina parari facias cumulos lignorum et tur- 
bonum, ut cum alicui parti comitatus de adventu 
Scotorum constiterit, statim rogos et cremationes de 
illis lignis et turbonibus faciant pro universali prce- 
munitione dicti Comitatus.' 

This is given in the Appendix to the Leges 
MarcJiiarum, and is taken from the records of 
Edward I. It is also said that similar instructions 
were sent to the Sheriffs of Northumberland, West- 
moreland and Cumberland, ' consimili modo, man- 
datum est Vicecomiti Northumbriar, Westmere. 
Cumbr.' At a later date the places specially 
appointed for beacons were, in Cumberland Black- 
comb, Boothill, Mulcaster Fell, St. Bees Head, 
Workington Hill, Moothay, SJciddaw, Sandale Top, 
Carlisle Castle, Lingy Close Head, Beacon Hill, 
Penriih, Dale Raughton, Brampton Mote and 
Spadeadam Top ; and in Westmoreland, upon the 
top of Stanemore, Orton Scar, Farleton Knot, Whin- 
fell Fell, and Hardknot. 

On the East March of Scotland beacons were 
maintained according to a statute in 1455, as Sir 
Walter Scott writes in the Border Antiquities, at 
' Hume Castle, at the Tower of Edgerhope, or 
Edgerstane, near the source of the Jed, upon the 
ridge of the Soltra Hills, at Dunbar, Dunpender (or 


Trapraine) Law, North Berwick Law, and other 
eminences : and their light was a signal for the 
Scottish forces to assemble at Edinburgh and 
Haddington, abandoning to waste and pillage all 
the southern counties/ 

On the West March of Scotland ' the Beacons to 
be sustained ' are set down as follows : ' It is found 
statute and used in time of warfare, with respect to 
bails burning and keeping, for coming of an English 
host into Scotland, there shall a bail be burned on 
Trailtrow-hill, and another on the Penchat-Tiill, and 
on the Bail-hill above the Hame-ends, one on the 
Cowdens above Castlemilk, one on Quitsoun, one on 
Drysdail, and on the Burraw Skenton in Applegarth 
parish, one on the Browan Hill, and one on the Bleis 
(Blaze Hill) in the tenement of Wamphray, one on 
the Kindol-Jcnok in the tenement of Johnstoun, one 
on the Gallow Hill of Moffat parish, and 5 in Nithis- 
dale, one on the Wardlaw, one on the Rahachtoun, 
one on Barloch, one on the Pittane hill, one on the 
Malow hill, one on Corswinton, one on the Cor sell, one 
on the fell above Dowlbark, and one on the Watchfell : 
and to cause these bails to be kept and made, the 
Sheriff of Nithisdale, the Stewart of Annandale, and 
the Stewart of Kirkcudbright in Galloway shall be 
debtors : and who so keepeth not the bails, shall pay 
for each default one mark.' 


The crests of all the high hills on either side were 
thus furnished with their beacons, which would 
unfurl upon the midnight sky 

'The blood-red flag 
All flaring and uneven.' 

In the year 1588 the sentinel upon Carlisle Castle 
might well doubt, as he caught sight of the ' red glare 
of Skiddaw,' whether it were the advent of Spain 
that was being heralded or only that of ' t'oald 
enemy,' Scotland, but if, as he stood doubting, his 
eye could catch the prospect of smaller flames lighting 
like glow-worms the nearer leas and fells, he would 
conclude, with a sigh of relief, that it was only Scot- 
land, and rejoice that he at least was safe within the 
walls of ' merry Carlisle,' and so himself be safe from 
being 'spulzied/ 

As on a day of jubilee the beacons flash their 
joyous message from hill-top to hill- top throughout 
the land, so in time of war did the bale fires foretell 
with fiery tongue the coming of ' the fray/ which was 
repeated from mountain to hill, from hill to Pele 
Tower, and from Pele to hamlet, throughout the 
centuries of Border war. For we read that in 
1570 an order was issued to the Wardens of the 
East and Middle Marches of England by the Earl of 
Sussex, Lord President of the Council of the North, 
as follows : 


' Everie man that hath a castle or a tower of stone 
shall, upon everie fray raysed in the night, give 
warning to the countrie by fire in the topps of the 
castle or tower in such sort as he shal be directed 
from his warning castle, upon paine of 3s. 4d.' 

' They watch, to hear the bloodhound baying : 
They watch, to hear the war-horn braying ; 
To see St. George's red cross streaming, 
To see the midnight beacon gleaming ; 
They watch, against Southern force and guile, 
Lest Scroop, or Howard, or Percy's powers, 
Threaten Branksome's lordly towers, 
From Wark worth, or Naworth, or merry Carlisle.' 

SCOTT, The Lay of the Last Minstrel. 




' The Scot and Ker the mid Border did possess, 
The Humes possest the East, and the Johnstons the West ; 
With their adjacent neighbours, put the English to more pains, 
Nor half the North, and all three Lothians.' 


History of the Name of Scot. 

ON the Scottish Border the clan system was more in 
evidence than on the English side, blood relationship 
to a remote degree being acknowledged in Scotland 
by the head of the family far more readily than in 
England. This may be said to hold good even at the 
present time in the Highlands, and probably the 
reason for it was the wildness of the country and the 
frequency of fighting not only against the 'auld 
enemy ' but amongst themselves to which the per- 
fervidum ingenium Scotorum naturally lent itself on 
occasion of ' deadly feud/ 

The Lord of Douglas in the time of his pre-eminence 
is said usually to have ridden with a retinue of 
1000 horse; the Scots could bring 500 men to the 
field and the Kers as many as 3000. 

In the Raid of the Beidswire, it is true, we read of 


'500 Fen wicks in a flock,' but as a general rule the 
names or ' graynes ' in England were neither so 
numerous, nor so powerful, nor so homogeneous as 
the clans in Scotland, for the English throne, as 
was pointed out in an earlier chapter, was the more 
firmly established, and after the Wars of the Roses 
could tame any rebellious baron without difficulty, 
so that the king rather than the chieftain was in 
England the bond of union. 

As to the clans inhabiting the Western Border of 
Scotland, Edward Aglionby writes to Burghley in 
1592 (Calendar of Border Papers) as follows : 

' The countrie of Annendale [Annandale] is stronge 
by theire great and many surnames, as Maxwelles, 
Johnstons, Armestronges, Irwaines, Bells, and 
Carlelles (Carlyles, forbears of Thomas Carlyle). 
Every which severall surname defende their owne.' 

As for Liddesdale, ' it is the most offensive countrie 
against both the West and Middle Marches. The 
strength of this countrie consisteth in two surnames 
of Armest ranges and Elwoodes [Elliots]. 

' Betwizt Eske and Sark dwelleth the surname of 
Johnsons, called the Johnsons of Greatney. 

' Above them dwelleth Kinmont and Armestronge, 
and about him dwelleth an hundred able men all 
Armestronges. About Kirtle is a surname of Irwyns, 
a surname of proper men. 


' Above them is a great surname of Belles and 
Carlilles, who hath bene longe in fede with the 

In the north of Annandale dwell the Johnstones. 
' Towardes the meetinge of Annan and the water 
of Milk, and of both sides thereof all Loughwood, 
dwelleth the Lard Johnson and c c c sufficient men 
of his name. 

'Towardes and above Dumfrize is the Lord 
Maxwell and Lord Harrys [Heries], and a 1000 
Mauxwelles under them. They have bene in fede 
with the Johnsons theis many years, which is a 
weakeninge of Scotland and a strength to England.' 

Then for the English opposite march he gives the 
following list : 

' Upon both sides of the river Esk dwell the 
Grames, which is the greatest surname att this daie 
upon the Weste Border. For the Grames of Esk 
and Leven are hable to make v c serviceable men. 
Theire dwelleth also a surname of Storyes, but they 
are sore decayed. 

' Above Kirklinton dwelleth a great surname of 
Fosters, and about Hethersgill is a surname of 

'In Bewcastle, theire dwelleth Fosters, Crosers, 
and Nixons, but sore decaied. 

' In Gilsland is no great surname : the Belles is the 


most. Theire is a surname of Milbournes and Hardens, 
but they are not many/ 

' Brough. Theire is four surnames theire, Liddalles, 
Glasters, Huntingdons, and Hodgesons, but theire 
is not many of none of them.' 

Musgrave and Salkeld. ' The greatest surname of 
the gentlemen within the Wardenrie is Musgraves 
and Salkelds.' 

Aglionby reports of Ewsdale, that ' they are a civil 
people, and never ride in England ' ; and again of 
Teviotdale, that 'it does never offend the West 
Border,' but this is scarcely a certificate of character, 
for Lord Scrope, the West Warden, a few years earlier, 
gives in a note of ' the loosemen in the Middle Marche ' 
'300 gingles ' in Ewsdale ; and in East and West 
Teviotdale, ' Trombles, Oily veres, Synsleves, Bobsons, 
Davesons, Yonges, Burnes, Pringles 3000'; and 
Carey, in writing to Burghley in 1598 concerning 
the Middle March, says, 'Those of Tyvidale are all 
great riders and the worst men in the country e.' 

On the English side on the Middle March you will 
find in North Tynedale the well-known ' 4 graynes ' 
of Charlton, Bobson, Dodd and Milburn ; in Bedesdale 
there were Beeds and Halls (between whom there 
was an ancient feud, see the ' Ballad of Parcy Beed), 
Andersons, Hedleys and Potts ; while in Coquetdale 
the Selbies, Clennells, Wilkinsons were the chief 
names, though not numerous enough to found clans. 


1K.'C\V , 4. N.V /.>./>.:/.>/. 

Vulgo S O L W A Y 


We may conclude this chapter with a list of the 
' Names on the Marches ' taken from the Calendar of 
Border Papers, under date July 1583. 

' East Marches of England. Gentlemen Forsters, 
Selbies, Graies, Strouders, Swiners, Mustians. Sur- 
names Johnsons, Vardes, Ourdes, Wallisses, Stories, 
Armestronges, Dunnes, Flukes. 

' Scotland. Gentlemen Humes, Trotters, Brom- 
feilds, Dixons, Crews, Crinstons. 

' West Marches of England. Gentlemen Mus- 
graves, Loders, Curwenes, Sawfelde. Surnames 
Greames, Butliches, Armestrongs, Fosters, Nixons, 
Tailors, Stories. 

'Scotland. Maxwells, Johnsons, Urwins, Grames, 
Bells, Carlills, Battison, Litles, Carrudders. 

' Middle Marches of England. Gentlemen Ogeles, 
Fenikes, Hernes, Withringtons, Medfords, Shafters, 
Ridleis, Carnabies. Surnames (in) Ridsdale. Halls, 
Hedleys, Andersons, Potts, Reades, Dunnes, Mil- 

' Tindale Charletons, Dodds, Milbornes, Bobsons, 
Yaroes, Stapletons. 

'Scotland. Gentlemen East Teviotdale. Carrs, 
Yongs, Pringles, Burnes, Davisons, Gilleries, Tattes. 

' Liddesdale Budderfords, Carrs, Dowglasses, 
Trombles, Scottes, Piles, Bobsons, Halls, Olivers, 
Ludlers, Armestrongs, Elwoods, Nixons, Crosiers, 
Turners, Fosters.' 




' Sir Henry Percy laye at the New Castelle, 

I tell you withowtten drede : 
He had byn a marsh-man all hys dayes, 
And kepte Barwyke upon Twede.' 

' The Battle of Otterbourne.' 

Northumbrian Minstrelsy. 

THE various payments to the Wardens vary so con- 
siderably that no definite stipend can be set down ; 
the rate varied with the differing number of soldiers 
assigned them and the varied allowances and escheats 
provided for them. In 1527 the Earl of Angus had 
100 for the East March, and 100 for the West 
when Warden of the two marches. 

The payment for the keeping of Liddesdale seems 
high when we read of 500 being allowed on several 

Thus though the Scots west Warden's fee was 
sometimes no more than 100, the Warden in 1533 
Lord Maxwell was receiving 100 per month for 
the keeping of Hermitage Castle and ruling Liddes- 


dale, and again five years later he is only receiving 
106, 14s. 4d. for four months' keeping of Hermitage. 

At various times a special governor or justiciar 
was appointed for Liddesdale, as when Queen Mary 
in 1551 made Sir W. Scott her governor there ; he 
was no doubt a law officer rather than a keeper, and 
was paid by the amercements and escheats, but it 
appears that he was not allowed any paid soldiers. 

' The Keeper,' or Captain, of Hermitage Castle was 
the deputy of the Keeper of Liddesdale : his pay- 
ment seems to have been '500 merks, with 5 chalders 
of victual, the half of it barley, the remainder meal.' 
He had also ' the mains of Hermitage and the keep- 
ing of that Castle intrusted to his charge, where he 
was bound to lodge prisoners and hold the fortress at 
all times " patent " to the Sovereign or keeper of the 
County for the time being.' See Armstrong, Liddes- 
dale, p. 11, etc. 

Berwick, as it was the most important charge upon 
the Border, seems to have been liberally provided for. 

The pay at Berwick for the whole garrison, officers, 
and governor is given in the Border Papers for the 
year 1593-4 as 14,420, 8s. 9jd., and in 1590 as 
15,005, including payment of the mayor's fee, 10, 
etc. Again, in 1557 the yearly pay at Berwick is set 
down as 22,662, 19s. 2d. (p. 8). 

' At Berwick for the old and new garrisons, Holy 



and Feme Islands, 10 gunners at Carlisle, 1 master 
gunner and his mate and 2 others at Wark.' 

There was a further addition of 10,914, 4s. 6d. 
for the ' Christmas quarter, captain and garrison at 
Tynemouth, and 500 workmen, officers and others 
left by Sir Richard Lee to remain all winter.' 

Much has been said in reproach of Queen Elizabeth 
for her parsimony, but when one notes the constant 
drain upon her resources for the upkeep of the Border 
garrisons, castle and wardens, her subsidies to King 
James, her assistance to the Netherlanders, the 
charges of her warfare with Spain, one will reflect 
that without thrift and constant economies she could 
never have kept any balance in hand in the Ex- 
chequer, exhausted as it had been by the extrava- 
gances of her father, Henry vui. 

The governor's pay is said to have been 1500 in the 
case of Lord Hunsdon, but this would seem to have 
included the Governor's and Captain of Norham's fees 
as well, which were separate charges ; at least it so 
appears in the Book of Complaints or Tables of Abuses 
presented unto Queen Elizabeth by the Mayor of Ber- 
wick in 1592-3, inculpating Lord Hunsdon's govern- 
ment and conduct. (Calendar of Border Papers.) 

' Abuse 19 ' commences as follows : 

'While formerly there were (1) a lord governor 
keeping hospitality in the town, (2) a lord Warden 


doing like in the Country, and (3) a captain of Nor- 
ham entertaining gentlemen's sons, and keeping house 
there, now these offices are joined in one man's 
person, an absentee, who spends not one penny of 
his interteignment and proffytes' above 1500 'in 
this place, either by his self or others the marshal 
serving the first place Sir John Selbee the second 
and Captain Caree the third.' 

The victualler of the garrison seems to have had 
20s. per diem. 

The marshal's fee was 33, 6s. 8d. per annum, the 
under-marshal's 16, two tipstaves 5, 6s. 8d. each. 

As to the garrison at Berwick, Captain Carey's pay 
was 4s. per diem, his lieutenant's 2s., his ensign, 
serjeant, and drum Is. each, while his men 100 
received 8d. per lunar month. Sir William Rede 
had the like pay and company; Captains Selby, 
Carvell, Twyfurth, Tomson, Yaxley, Boyer had each 
2s. per diem, whilst their companies of 50 men served 
at 8d. per lunar month. 

The horsemen seem to have had 8d. per diem, 
and there were in addition gunners, artificers in the 
ordnance, and sundry pensioners 73 who were 
apparently usually selected by way of favour or 
reward from the existing garrison. 

Pay of the Treasurer (Mr. Robert Bowes) (Calendar 
of Border Papers, vol. i. p. 368): 


His fee was 260, but there were allowances both 
ordinary and extraordinary, such as house rent, 
postage money, 'fee upon the works/ allowance for 
munition, etc., so that in all for 1590 the total comes 
to 580, 3s. 4d. 

The west Warden at Carlisle, on the other hand, 
seems to have received much less than his brother 
Warden on the east, for Lord Scrope had apparently 
only 645, 9s. lOd. as his fee, from which, again, 300 
marks have to be deducted for the fee of the Captain 
of the Castle. 

This is shown by Lowther's letter to Burghley in 
1592. * I do fynde/ he writes, 'that the wholl fees to 
the Lorde Scrope for the place amounted unto v j c. 
XLVLv. IX s . X d . quad, all which I take to belonge 
to the wardenry excepte 300 markes and the 
growndes, which I know were the distinct fees to the 
captain of the Castell and the Cyttie. The cittedell 
is a separate chardge and the same with the fees 
belonginge are graunted unto Mr. Dalston, who en- 
joyeth the same. I do not of myselfe knowe, neither 
can I learne whither the late Lorde Scrope had the 
chardge of the municion and artillerie here distinctlie 
for him selfe, or under the Master of the ordenaunces 
fortheNorthe.' 1 

1 The Wardenship of the Western March and Captaincy of Carlisle were 
separate offices, though occasionally held by the same individual, but 


By Queen Elizabeth's Commission in the fifth year 
of her reign Lord Scrope's fee and wages are thus set 
down : 

' And further ' (in addition to the usual appurten- 
ances, liberties, commodities, advantages, profits, 
and all other appendages) ' we grant to the said 
Lord Scroope, for the exercise of the Wardenship 
aforesaid : so long as in that office he shall remain, 
the fee and wages of 600 marks by the year for him- 
self, and his 2 deputies aforesaid, that is to say, for 
either of them by the year 10, and also for the 
said 2 officers called Warden Serjeants of the West 
Marches, for either of them yearly 40s. during our 
pleasure aforesaid : to be paid at the feasts of St. 
Michael the Archangel and the Annunciation of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary, by equal portions, out of our 
treasury, at the receipt of our exchequer at West- 
minster, by the hands of the treasurer and chamber- 
lain, there for the time being.' 

Elsewhere mention is also made of three porters at 
26s. 8d. per annum each, of a trumpeter at 16 pence 
per day, and a surgeon at 12 pence. 

The 'usual appurtenances, liberties, commodities, 
advantages, profits and all other appendages' men- 

apparently were conjoined from the time of Queen 'Mary, for he further 
writes, 'So as I cannot perceive that the 2 said offices were unyted by 
graunte and patente untill in the time of Quene Marie.' (Calendar of 
Border Paper t.) 


tioned above as belonging to the Warden were 
considerable, comprising tithe corn, fishing rights, 
various stewardships, receipts from Crown lands and 
so forth, inasmuch as the Warden was a chief officer 
and representative of the Crown. 

No doubt the Governorship of Berwick which 
was, as Queen Elizabeth said, ' the chief jewel in her 
crown ' and the Wardenship on the East March were 
more important charges than the corresponding com- 
mands on the West, for the former were more directly 
concerned in any hostilities between the two king- 
doms, whereas the latter had chiefly to protect the 
country against the invasions of the Annandale thieves 
and the invasions of the Armstrongs and Elliots from 
the ' swyres ' of Liddesdale. 

The fees of the Warden of the English Middle 
March are given in the case of Sir John Forster 
(appointed 1560), being set down in the Calendar of 
Border Papers under date 1595. 

' Grant of the office of Warden of the English 
Marshes towards Scotland/ viz. 'in partibus de le 
Myddle Marches ac in dominio Scocie, nenon custodie 
de le Tynedale at Riddesdale/ ' to Sir John Forster 
knight by the Queen's letters patent dated 4th Nov., 
2nd Eliz. with wages and fees of 300 yearly, also 
10 each for two deputies under him in said marches, 
and 40s. to each of two warden sergeants therein ; 


all during Her Majesty's pleasure, payable yearly at 
the feasts of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary and St. Michael Archangel by equal portions 
in all 324. Also the said Warden's fee for keeping 
the Castles of Tynedale and Ryddesdale, 26, 13s. 4d. 
yearly. The fee of the said Sir John Forster as bailiff 
and receiver of the issues, etc., of the barony of Bywell 
and lordship of Bulbecke (parcel of the possessions of 
the late Earl of Westmorland attained) 6, 7s. 
yearly during pleasure, under the Queen's letters 
patent of 12th July, 13 Eliz.' 

Lord Eure, the Middle March Warden, who suc- 
ceeded Sir John Forster, writes to the Queen in 

'As the Warden must strengthen his own people 
to his great charge, that her highness would increase 
the fee of 500 formerly granted to Sir Wm. Eure 
my great grandfather, my grandfather, to the Lord 
Wharton, and my father, etc., to perfect the services, 
and grant me "Styford demayne" and other things 
which Sir John had by her gracious favour to better 
his estate in service.' 

He also craves the parsonage of Simonburn, which 
his grandfather had, promising to keep a preacher 
there, and also a house in Hexham to lie in with his 
men if Sir John Forster's is not available. (Calendar 
of Border Papers, vol. ii. p. 58.) 


As for the fees of a Deputy- Warden, we find that 
Sir John Widdrington, Deputy- Warden of the Middle 
March in Henry vin.'s reign, received 183, 6s. 8d., 
and that the Keeper of Redesdale received 26, 
13s. 4d., while for the similar office in Tynedale the 
fee is given at 30, which seems to have been ap- 
portioned as follows : 

The steward, 6, 13s. 8d. The receiver, 6, 

13s. 8d. 

The bailiff, 13, 6s. 8d. The gaoler, 1, 6s. 8d. 
Two Serjeants, 1, 6s. 8d., and the woodward, 
13s. 4d. 

There were other subordinate officials men of 
standing in the countryside who seemed also to 
have received fees with a view to helping to keep 
order in the countryside. Thus, within the district 
of Redesdale, John Hall of Otterburn received 10 
in the time of King Henry vin., his duty being 
apparently to assist the keeper in maintaining the 
peace and bringing thieves to justice. 

Finally, in Scotland, where, as will be shown in 
Chapter XIIL Part ii., there were sundry local juris- 
dictions and baronial rights, the warden-deputes and 
stewards were sometimes paid by means of teinds 
(tithes) and other such charges. 

Thus in the Appendix, No. 2, of Leges Marchiarum 
we read of the following grants or maintenances : 


'The Laird of Howmaines, the Stewart Depute, 
and therefore to have the Teynds of Smalholme 
yearly, and the Laird of Newbie to the [be ?] Warden 
Depute, and therefore to have 50 m. given him yearlie 
of Drumdanane, as their tacks specifies at this present. 
Therefore they to be called the Deputes with the 
assistance of other famous and wise gentlemen of the 
Countree of Annandale, as is needful.' 

Also, of the maintenance of the Keeper of the 
House of Howdam : 

' This man to have ane rental given him of the hail 
lands of Annandale, belonging to the Lord Maxwell, 
and the house of Terregles, and to be Chamberlain to 
their hail lands, and to uplift their hail dutys : and 
that all men dwelling on the said lands serve with 
him at all times, when they shall be charged.' 




' Lord Buckcleugh into the Scots Border 
Was high Lord Warden, to keep them in good order ; 
On that border was the Armstrangs able men, 
Somewhat unruly, and very ill to tame.' 

History of the Name of Scot. 

The Office of Guardian or Warden 
GUARDIAN is, of course, the same word as Warden, 
Gardianus in the Latin becoming Warden in English. 
Yet Custos seems to have been an earlier term than 
Gardianus, in regard to the marches, where, as Dr. 
Hodgkin pointed out in his Creightonian Lecture, 
' The Wardens of the Northern Marches,' the duty was 
at first a military one, the Warden being the locum 
tenens of the King. Custos implies the safe keeping 
of some object or other committed to your charge, 
but as in that age safe keeping involved fighting, 
Gardianus a term more suggestive of warfare 
came to be the name of the King's representative 
on the marches. 

Thus in its first signification the Wardenship of 
the Marches meant the warding or keeping of 


Scotland, which Edward i. regarding that kingdom 
as his own had determined wholly to subject 
beneath him; but after the year 1328, when 
Scottish independence was definitely recognised, the 
Wardenship came to mean these three things the 
warding of the Border country, whether by defence 
or offence, the keeping of the Border Laws, and the 
punishment of malefactors. 

They held their power per baroniam, and against 
them the King's writ did not run, whilst in their 
administration of justice they were subject only to 
their King. 

Concerning the later duty of the Lord Warden, 
Edward Aglionby, in a letter giving Burghley informa- 
tion about the ' Severall charge of the West Borders of 
England and Scotland ' in 1592 (Calendar of Border 
Papers), writes as follows : 

' The Warden hath charge as generall, in all affaires 
under her Majestie for the lawes of Marches, according 
to the ancient Border lawe, and severall newe treatisse. 
His deputie is one of the Wardens owne appointinge, 
who hath in charge all particular service, either for 
defence of England, or offence of Scotland. 

' In defence of England, as when any sodden rode, 
or secreat thift made by any Scottes or Englishe 
borderers, to be readie upon the first shout or fray, 
with a score at the least of the Wardens men, to 


followe to where the fray is, or to ride betwixt them 
and home, as the service requires. In offence of 
Scotland when the Warden doth make any rode, 
to go with a competent number and take a boutie in 
Scotland ; and that is called a Warden rode.' 

Later again their duties came to include political 
functions, for they had frequently when war was 
toward, or fear arose of foreign influences prevailing 
in Scotland to do a considerable amount of secret 
service work, and make reports to the Foreign Office 
of the day, viz. to the Secretary of State, or the 
King's favourite minister. One even hears of a 
Warden rifling the despatch bag of the French agent 
on his way to Edinburgh. 1 Thus in Elizabeth's 
reign Robert Bowes was not only Treasurer of 
Berwick but Ambassador for the Queen at Edinburgh 
during great part of seventeen years. 'The three 
Border wardens/ wrote the late Mr. Joseph Bain, 
the able editor of the Border Papers (vol. i. Intro- 
duction), 'in addition to their proper duties, were 
also charged with secret and confidential enquiries, 
so far as their ability extended, into the internal 

1 When Henry vm. sent Sir Ralph Sadler in 1540 to the Court of 
Scotland, he supplied him with a letter of Cardinal Beaton to his agent 
in Rome, which King Henry pretended had been left accidentally by 
the Cardinal's servant in the north of England, after he had been driven 
ashore in a tempest. In reality, the packet had been taken by force 
from Brunston, the Cardinal's agent, by John Horsley, Captain of 


affairs of Scotland, as well as the intercourse of its 
rulers with the Continent, especially with France 
and Spain ; and the long reports on these subjects, 
which they from time to time forwarded to the 
Secretaries of State, are abundant evidences of the 
efficient manner in which they discharged these 
onerous duties. They were compelled, in truth, to 
be not less familiar with the pen than the sword.' 




'Wei sayd the erle when I was sworne Warden of the Marches, you 
yourself told me, that I might with my staffe arrest all men under the 
degree of a Kynge, and now I am more stronger, for I have a commision so 
to do which you have sene.' 

The Earl of Northumberland's reply to Wolsey 
when he arrested him for high treason. Hall, 
Triumphant Reigneof Kyng Henry the VIII. 

THE first institution, then, of the office of Warden 
appears to belong to the reign of Edward L, and the 
original duty of guarding or keeping those parts of 
Scotland upon which he had already laid his hands 
was probably first exercised by Walter de Hunter- 

Thus Walter de of Huntercombe, 
Oxon, was made Governor of Edinburgh Castle, 
1296-98, and of the Sheriffdoms of Lothian, viz. 
Edinburgh, Linlithgow, and Haddington, also Warden 
of the Marches towards Northumberland. 

He had early seen service on the Welsh Marches, 
being summoned to the first expedition against 
Lewelin, Prince of Wales, and in the Scottish wars 


again he was summoned to attend the muster at 
Norham in 1291, and at Carlisle, York and Berwick, 
1299-1310. Also, we find in 1299 Gilbert de Umfre- 
ville made a Commissioner for manning and fortify- 
ing the castles and strongholds of Scotland, and for 
appointing Wardens of the Marches. 

Again, John St. John of Halnaker, that well- 
known commander, was appointed by Edward his 
Lieutenant in the Counties of Cumberland, West- 
moreland, Lancaster, Annandale, and all the Marches 
unto the boundaries of the County of Roxburgh in 
1300, and in 1301 was made Warden of Galloway. 

John, Earl of Warenne, was Guardian (Warden) 
and Lieutenant of Scotland in 1296-97, ' custodem 
nostrum totius regni et terrae Scotiae,' and further, 
Edward i. appoints Henry de Percy 'custodem 
nostrum totius terrae Galwediae ac comitatus nostri 
de Air' (Ayrshire), and after Edward's death in 
1307 the Earl of Pembroke was appointed to the 

'The first Lord Warden of the marches,' write 
Burn and Nicholson in their History of Westmorland 
and Cumberland, ' of whom we have had any 
authentic account, was Robert de Clifford, Lord of 
Westmorland, and hereditary sheriff of the same : 
of whom the Countess of Pembroke's Memoirs take 
notice, that in the twenty- fifth year of King Edward 


the First, viz., 1296, the said Robert, being then about 
twenty-three years of age, was made the King's 
captain and keeper of the marches in the North 
towards Scotland.' If the words * keeper of the 
marches in the North towards Scotland' be taken 
to mean the English Marches, then Clifford may be 
reported the ' first Lord Warden/ but if Scotland is 
included in the term, Walter de Huntercombe might 
dispute the title. 

Clifford's office was probably entirely military, for 
on 12th July 1297 he was appointed Captain of the 
Cumberland fortresses, and ordered to invade Scotland 
with Henry de Percy, and a little later in the same 
year was made Captain and Guardian of the Scots 
Marches and the County of Cumberland. 

He was again Warden of the Scots Marches in 
Edward ii/s reign, being in 1308 appointed Captain 
and Chief Guardian of all Scotland on either side of 
the Firths, in company with Robert Umfreville, the 
Earl of Angus. 

On this Western March the Bishop of Carlisle was 
frequently joint Warden with other principal Western 
Borderers, and in 1302 the bishop was Governor of 
Carlisle Castle. In 1341, 200 was ordered to be 
paid the bishop, in part on the arrears of ,529, 4s. 
for the wages of him and the men abiding with him 
for the safe keeping of the marches against Scotland. 


Again, in 1309 the Bishop of Carlisle and Thomas de 
Lucy were jointly and severally constituted Wardens 
of the Western Marches. 

The following is a table of the various Lord Wardens 
General of the Border, and also the Lord Wardens 
of the East, Middle, and Western Marches, both 
English and Scottish, so far as the writer has been 
able to discover them. He cannot, however, venture 
to hope that it is complete. 1 One difficulty is that 
the Deputy- Wardens are frequently styled Wardens ; 
sometimes in old writers the Captains and Marshals 
of Berwick-upon-Tweed are so alluded to, and very 
frequently especially on the Scottish side, and on 
their Western March particularly the Wardens are 
changed with bewildering suddenness. This was the 
consequence of clan feuds in part; also because of 
English pressure or of English trafficking with the 
insurgent Scots Lords. 

1 William Selby, writing to Burghley in 1598 (Calendar of Border 
Papers), gives the names of a number of recent Wardens on the East 
March, concerning one or two of whom one knows nothing. 

'Sir Wm. Ewrie, great-grandfather to this Lord Ewrie, and Lord 
Warden of the East March ; Sir Nicholas Stirling was next Warden, then 
Lord Ewrie, this Lord's Father, next Lord Conyers, and then Lord 
Whartoun, in which Lord's time the 2 yeares warres began : during 
which the Earl of Northumberland was Lord Warden, and afterwards Lord 







Sir James Douglas (' The 
Good ' or ' Black Doug- 
las '). 


Sir William Douglas 
(Knight of Liddesdale, 
In 1364 and from 1368 to ' ' the Flower of Chiv- 
his death in 1400 airy ') 

Sir Archibald Douglas 
'the Grim' (Earl of 
Douglas in 1385 said 
to have codified the 
Laws of the Marches) 

In 1400 

Archibald ('The Tynem an '), 4th Earl of Douglas, 
parently, and of East M arch. 

James 'the Gross,' 7th 
Earl, who died in 1443, 
sometime Warden. 1433 

William Douglas, 2nd 
Earl of Angus. 


William, 1st Earl of 
Douglas, joint Warden 
with the Earl of March. 

and of East March. 
Lord Warden General ap- 


William, 8th Earl of Doug 1 
n. in Stirling Castle in 

James, 9th Earl, succeeded 
his brother, but was for- 
feited in 1455, after 
which the Wardenship 
was no longer hereditary 
with the Douglas family. 

In 1456 

Sir Andrew Stewart, 
Laird of Avondale. 

as, Lord Warden of all the 


Sir Alexander Home. 
George, Earl of Angus. 

Marches, killed by James 






Robert de Clifford, ' Keeper of the Marches in the nor th towards Scotland.' 

In 1327 
Earl of Surrey, Lord War den General. 


Henry, 2nd Baron Percy, 


Ralph, 4th Lord Neville, a nd Lord Percy, Joint Warjdens General. 

1352, etc. 
Henry, 3rd Lord Percy, ; 

Henry, 4th Lord Percy and 

Lord Warden General 

ac ted as Lord Warden Gener al. 


Roger de Clifford. 


Ralph, 5th Lord Neville, 
joint Warden of East 
and West Marches. 


Thos. de Clifford, and 
Ralph, 6th Lord Neville 
and 1st Earl of West- 
moreland (he was sole 
Warden after Hotspur's 
death in 1403). 



1st Earl of Northumberla nd, Warden General. 

In 1368 

Ralph, 5th Lord Neville 
on commission for 
custody of East March, 
later sole Warden, died 


Hotspur, associated with 
his father, and Warden 
of East and West 






In 1468 

The Earl William Douglas 
at Lincluden renews 
and promulgates the 
Laws of March pre- 
viously drawn up by 
' Archibald the Grim ' 


William Douglas 


In 1475 

Alexander, Duke 


James, Earl of Buchan. 


Patrick Hepburn, Earl of 


Walter Ker of Cesford. 


Ralph and Andrew Ker. 

Alexander, 3rd Lord Horn e, Lord Warden General, 
the ran at Flodden. 

Earl of Bothwell, Lord 

Anthony Darcy, Lord 

1517 by Home of Wedd erburn. 

Lord MaxwelL 

Warden General of all 


Sir Robert Ker. 


Sir Andrew Ker of 

Warden General of all 


Alexander, Lord Home. 


Archibald, 5th JEarl of 
Angus ('Bell-the-cat'). 

Alexander Hume of that 


Patrick Hepburn, Earl of 


commanded with Huntly 

the Marches. 

the Marches, slain in 







Edward, Duke of York. 


Richard, Earl of Salisbury. 


Henry, 3rd Earl of Northumberland, Lord Warden 


Warwick ' the King- 
maker,' associated with 
his father, the Earl of 

Richard, Duke of Gloucest er, Lord Warden General. 

Henry Percy, 4th Earl of 

of Middle and East. 

Henry, Duke of York, Lor d Warden General. 


Thomas, Lord Dacre. 


The Earl Marshal. 


John, afterwards Duke 
of Bedford. 


Henry, 2nd Earl of Nor- 


Earl of Salisbury. 


Earl of Northumberland 



Henry, 3rd Earl of Nor- 


John Neville, Lord Mon- 

Northumberland, Warden 


Henry Percy, 5th Earl of 







Robert, Master of Max- 


Lord Maxwell (see Dacre). 

Sir John Maxwell. 


Sir James Douglas. 


Earl of BothwelL 


Sir John Maxwell. 


The Lord Maxwell, re- 
appointed Warden. 


Earl of Angus, and Lieut. - 

The Laird of Johnstone, 
and in 1584 appointed 
Lieutenant of West 
Marches, Nithsdale, 
Galloway and Liddes- 
dale, and Provost of 

Earl of Arran was Lord 


Archibald Douglas, 6th 
Middle and East March 
Queen Dowager). 


Sir Walter Scott of Buc- 


James, Earl of Bothwell, 
and Lieutenant of the 
Marches of Scotland. 


Sir Walter Ker of Ces- 

Earl of Angus, Warden of 
es (m. Margaret Tudor 

Alexander, 5th Lord 

jreneral over all the 


W. Ker (also Keeper of 


Sir Thos. Ker of Fernie- 
hurst (also Keeper of 

Warden General of all the 


Sir James Home of Cow- 



Alexander, 6th Lord and 
1st Earl of Home, and 
in 1603 Lord Warden 








In 1523 
Henry Percy, 5th Earl, Lor d 


Henry de Clifford (15th 
Baron, son of the 
'Shepherd Lord'), 1st 
Earl of Cumberland. 


Henry Percy, 6th Earl, Lo rd Warden General. 


Wm., Lord Dacre. 1536 

Sir Thos. Percy. 


Lord Scrope. 

Lord Wharton. 2 

Sir R. Bowes, 1 and of 


Sir Ralph Eure (Lord 

Ewrie). 3 

Sir Wm. Eurie, 1st Lord. 
Sir N. Stirley. 



Lord Eure. 

1 Sir Robert Bowes ('one of the most expert Borderers') was Warden of East 
and Middle Marches, and drew up his ' Book of the State of the Frontiers and 
Marches betwixt England and Scotland,' and his treatise on the ' Forme and Order 
of a Day of Truce' : he seems to have continued Warden till his death in 1554. 

2 Sir Thomas Wharton (1st Lord Wharton), held to be another of 'the most 
expert Borderers,' was one of the most energetic of all the Wardens ; he was 
originally Deputy under Lord Scrope, Captain of Carlisle Castle, victorious at 
Sol way Moss fight, Warden of West March, then in 1553 Deputy -Warden 
General of all the Marches under the Duke of Northumberland, when he took 
order for the day and night watches to be kept from sea to sea ; finally appointed 
to the East and Middle Wardenries till his death in 1568. He was buried in 
Kirkby Stephen Church, where his tomb still remains in good preservation. 

3 Sir Ralph Ewrie (Eure), or Lord Ewrie, of the ballads. 

' Lord Ewrie was as brave a man 

As ever stood in his degree ; 
The king has sent him a broad letter, 

All for his courage and loyalty. ' 

He was, as Sir Walter Scott says in the Border Minstrelsy, ' one of the bravest 
men of a military race. He was son of the first, and father of the second Lord 
Ewrie ; and was himself created a Lord of Parliament during his father's lifetime, 
in the 35th year of Henry vin.' He was slain in the Battle of Ancrum Moor, 
1546, and buried in Melrose Abbey, where 'his stone coffin,' continues Sir 
Walter Scott, ' may still be seen a little to the left of the great altar.' 

He was Warden of the Middle March at the same time that his father was 
Warden of the East March. 






In 1587 

W. Maxwell, Lord Herries. 


Sir John Carmichael (he 
had been Keeper of 
Liddesdale and acted 
as Warden at the Raid 
of the Reidswire in 

Lord Maxwell was Warden. 

In 1592 

Earl of Angus. 

John, Lord Maxwell, slain 

at Dryfe sands by 

Johns tones in 1593. 


Laird of Johnstone. 


Sir John Carmichael 
again : slain by the 
Armstrongs in 1600 
on his way to hold a 
Warden's Court at 
Lochmaban, and suc- 
ceeded in his office in 
1600 by the Laird of 


Alexander, 6th Baron and 
three marches of Scotia nd. 


W. Ker of Cessford (Pro- 
vost of Jedburgh and 
Keeper of Jed forest), 
his son, Sir Robert Ker 
(afterwards 1st Earl of 
Roxburgh) associated 
with him. 

Duke of Lennox. 

1st Earl of Home, Lord 


Lord Willoughby d'Eresby . 


Sir John Cary (2nd son 
of Lord Hunsdon) (pre- 
viously Marshal of 
Berwick and Deputy 

Warden General of the 









Wm., Lord Dacre. 

Earl of Rutland, Warden, 

and of East. 


Henry, Lord Dorset, Lord 

Warden General. 



Lord Eure. 

Lord Grey of Wilton. 


Sir Thos. Percy, 7th Earl, 

also of the East. 


Dudley, Duke of Northum 

berland, Lord Warden Ge 

neral (Wharton, Deputy 

Lord Warden General), 

then Warden of Middle 

and East Marches. 


Sir Ralph Sadler, also of 

the East. 



Sir John Forster. 


Henry, Lord Scrope, 9th 

Henry, Lord Hunsdon, 

Baron Bolton, Governor 

1st cousin to Queen 

of Carlisle, received 

Elizabeth, Lord Cham- 

Mary Queen of Scots 

berlain, Governor of 

and was her guardian 

Berwick. In 1589 was 

at Bolton. 

made Lord Warden 



General and Keeper of 

Sir R. Lowther. 

Ralph, Lord Eure. 1 




Thos., Lord Scrope, from 
whose safe keeping in 
Carlisle Castle ' Kin- 
ruont Will' was taken. 

Sir Robert Cary, 7th and 
youngest son of Lord 
Hunsdon, and after- 
wards 1st Earl of 

Monmouth, brought the 

news of Queen Eliza- 

beth's death to James. 


The Earl of Cumberland, 

Warden of the West and 

Middle Marches and also 

Lieut. -General of Cum 

berland, Westmoreland, 

Northumberland and 

town and county of Ne 


1 Ralph (3rd Lord Eure, Ewry or Evers), succeeded Sir John Forster, but 
apparently did no better, and, complaints being laid against him, soon resigned. 
From various letters it appears that his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, 
Sir W. Eure (1st Lord Eure), had all been Wardens of East or Middle Marches. 


Between 1585 and 1595 there are no fewer than 
six changes in the Wardenship of the Western 
March of Scotland. (See p. 193.) 

Finally, in the case of certain Wardens represent- 
ing various powerful clans, or as being themselves 
conspicuous for courage, daring or notoriety of any 
kind, notes have been appended giving further 
particulars of their lives or families. 


1297. Robert de Clifford, Lord and Hereditary 
Sheriff of Westmoreland. He succeeded to the 
estates of his grandfather Roger, and also to the 
moiety of the great Yeteripont or Vipont inheritance 
through his mother Isabella. He was the founder 
of the north country branch of the Clifford family ; 
one of Edward i.'s most able soldiers and adminis- 
trators, he took Carlaverock Castle, and was made 
Captain of the Scots Marches and the County of 

In 1308. Also he was appointed Captain and 
Chief Guardian of all Scotland on either side of the 
Firths, in company with the Earl of Angus, and met 
his death on the field of Bannockburn. It is 
interesting to note that as Hobert de Clifford was 
the first Warden on the West March, so the last 


Warden of the same March was his descendant, 
' George the Magnificant,' the last Earl of Cumber- 
land, who was appointed Warden of the Middle and 
West Marches by James VI. and I. shortly after his 
succession to the English crown. 

1315. Andrew de Harcla, Warden, and later 
Governor and Earl of Carlisle. 

1334. Henry de Percy and Ralph de Nevil were 
jointly and severally commissioned to execute the 
office of Head Wardens of the Marches in the 
Counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, and West- 

1336. Gilbert Welton, Bishop of Carlisle, and 
Thos. Lucy, Lord of Cockermouth, Wardens. 

1370. Thos. Appleby, Bishop of Carlisle, Roger 
de Clifford, Anthony de Lucy, and Ranulph de Dacre 
were commissioned to the Wardenship. 

1374. Bishop Appleby, Roger de Clifford, Thos. 
de Musgrave, Alan de Heton and nine others. 

1377. Thos., Bishop of Durham, Thos., Bishop of 
Carlisle, Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, Roger 
de Clifford, Ralph de Dacre, Richard de Stafford, 
Henry de Scrope, Thos. de Musgrave, and John de 
Appleby, Dean of St. Paul's. 

1384. Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was 

1388. (Froissart states that 'the Lord Neville, 


who had commanded the defence of the frontier of 
Northumberland for five years against the Scots, 
was dismissed : for this service he had been paid by 
the Counties of Northumberland and Durham the 
sum of 16,000 francs annually. 

' Sir Henry Percy, being appointed in his stead to 
the command with a salary of 11,000 francs annually, 
was a circumstance which created much animosity 
and hatred between the Percies and Nevilles, who 
were neighbours, and had been friends.') 

In this year you have a Warden's fight, viz. the 
Battle of Otterburn, for the English Warden was 
Hotspur, while the Earl of Douglas was the son of 
the former Scots Warden. 'Hotspur/ the most 
renowned of all the Percies * idolised by the people 
and immortalised by Shakespeare may justly be 
regarded as the hero of Northumberland, for he 
showed throughout his short life that passionate love 
of adventure (the 'plucking of bright honour from 
the pale-faced moon '), that disdain of fear, and that 
disregard of consequences which one regards as 
typically Northumbrian. The ' speaking thick, which 
Nature made his blemish,' alludes no doubt to the 
Northumbrian burr, which tradition asserts Hotspur 

1 For an account of the potent Percy family the most powerful Barons 
in the North of England, and for some centuries Wardens, and Lord 
Wardens General of the Marches the reader is referred to A History of 
the House of Percy. Brenan. (Freemantle.) 


to have originated and his admirers to have copied. 
His opponent at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388 
was of course that ' sprightly Scot of Scots, Douglas, 
that runs o' horseback up a hill perpendicular/ and 
in that famous fight the typical Scot met with the 
typical Northumbrian. Douglas indeed was the 
elder by some years, and, emulous of the younger's 
reputation, successfully challenged Percy at the 
barriers before Newcastle, and defeated his forces at 
Otterburn, as everybody knows. One might perhaps 
liken the Scot to the elder brother of the Parable, 
and the Northumbrian to the Prodigal, and you can 
add a touch of superstition in Douglas which Hotspur 
would certainly have scorned : 

' But I have dream'd a dreamy dream : 

Beyond the Isle of Sky, 
I saw a dead man win a fight, 
And I think that man was I.' 


This family, renowned in battle and even more 
renowned in matrimony, was for many years, like 
the Percy with which they intermarried, engaged in 
guarding the Border. 

Thus in 1334 Ralph, fourth Lord Neville, brother 
of the ' Peacock of the North,' was joint Warden 
with Percy. He was one of the victors in the Battle 


of Neville's Cross, and was buried in Durham 

His son John, fifth Lord Neville, was in 1368 
on the Warden's commission for East March, then 
Governor of Bamborough, also joint Warden for 
East and West Marches, and finally sole Warden of 
West March. 

His son Ralph, sixth Lord Neville and first Earl 
of Westmoreland, was joint Warden of West March 
with Lord Clifford's eldest son, and later was again 
appointed Warden, his eldest son being associated 
with him. He was twice married, and had in all 
twenty-three children : his second wife was Joan 
Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, and his eldest 
son by her was the Earl of Salisbury, father of ' the 
King-maker,' in whom the power of the house 
reached its climax. 

The sixth Earl of Westmoreland, by joining in the 
' Rising of the North/ ruined the fortunes of the 
elder branch of the Neville family, for, being for- 
feited, he lost the estates of Brancepeth and Raby. 


' So many, so good, as of the Douglases have been, 
Of one sirname in Scotland never yet were seen.' 

For a period of nearly two hundred years, only 
terminating in 1452, when James n. despatched 


Willfam, the eighth Earl, in Stirling Castle with his 
own hand, the history of Scotland is intimately bound 
up with the doings of the House of Douglas. 

The Wardenship of the Marches seems to have 
become, like the Sheriffwick of Teviotdale, an 
appanage of their family ; but with the murder of 
the eighth Earl, and the forfeiture of James, ninth 
Earl, the glory of the elder branch departed. Then 
the younger branch, the 'Red Douglas/ put down 
' the Black,' as the saying ran ; for James, having 
been forfeited, died a monk in Lindores Abbey, and 
George Douglas, fourth Earl of Angus, received the 
ancient Lordship of Douglas, and his son, Archibald 
' Bell the Cat/ grew to be as powerful as his 
predecessors of the elder stock. 


' Among the great families of Cumberland/ writes 
Mr. R. S. Ferguson in his county history, 1 'the 
martial house of Dacre stands out the most prominent. 
So far back as ever they can be traced they are 
avrox^oves, De Dacres of Dacre. The first that is 
known is William de Dacre of Dacre, Sheriff of 
Cumberland in 20, Henry in., 2 and great-grandfather 
of the daring and lucky young wooer who carried off" 
the young " Lady of Gilsland." 

1 History of Cumberland. (E. Stock.) 2 Viz. 1173. 


' The Dacres, 

" So daring in love, and so dauntless in war," 
are ever inseparably connected in history and legend 
with memories of Flodden, of Border warfare and 
Border raids, while their wild slogan of " a Daker, a 
Daker, a read Bull, a read Bull," was ever a terror to 
the Scots, as their banner of martial red with its 
silver escallops was ever a rallying-point for the 
English bordermen.' 

Of this family, three appear in the Wardens' roll. 
Humphrey, ' Lord Dacre of the North/ was Warden 
of the West March in second of Richard in., but it 
was Thomas, Lord Dacre, who won the greatest fame 
as soldier and as raiding Warden. He commanded 
the reserve at Flodden, and he was Warden from 
1509 to 1525, when he died. 

A 'malleus Scotorum,' he thus writes in 1514 to 
the Lords of the Council, ' There was never so mekill 
myschefe, robbry, spoiling and vengeance in Scotland 
then there is nowe, without hope of remedy e; which I 
praye our Lord God to continewe.' 

He built Askerton Castle and Drumburgh to stay 
the Scots incursions and strengthened Naworth. 

His eldest son William, Lord Dacre, was frequently 
Governor of Carlisle, and also Warden. 

His grandson dying quite young, this northern 
barony died out, and Naworth with its broad acres 


passed to the children of Lord William Howard 
(' Bauld Willie '), who married Elizabeth Dacre 
(' Bessie wi' the braid apron '). 


This powerful clan attained to prominence in the 
sixteenth century, and the Wardenship of the Scots 
Middle March was throughout that time almost con- 
tinually in the hands either of a Ker of Ferniehirst 
or a Ker of Cesford. 

They were much favoured by James vi. and I., Sir 
Robert Ker (Sir Robert Carey's enemy and friend 
see Carey's Memoirs) being created first Earl of 
Roxburgh, and his cousin, the notorious Robert 
Carr (of Ferniehirst), being made Earl of Somerset. 
The Earl of Ancrum, the Earl of Lothian, and Lord 
Jedburgh also were derived from the same twin stock. 

In 1514 Sir Robert Ker of Caverton was Warden 
of the Scots Middle March, and was slain at a Border 
meeting by the bastard Heron and two other English- 
men. His son, Sir Andrew Ker of Cesford, was 
likewise Warden ; Sir Andrew's son again, William, 
was also Warden, and with him again was associated 
as deputy Sir Robert Ker, his son, later first Earl of 

In 1584 Sir Thomas Ker of Ferniehirst had super- 
seded William Ker of Cesford as Keeper ofLiddesdale 


and Warden of Middle March and Provost of Jedburgh, 
but after the murder of Lord Francis Russell at the 
day of truce, held by Ferniehirst on Windy Gyle, 
Cesford was reappoiuted Warden. 

Ferniehirst is said to have been able to bring 3000 
men into the field, and as a great partisan of Queen 
Mary was much dreaded by the English, and a thorn 
in the flesh to Sir John Forster, his opposite Warden. 

Their family burial-place was the north transept of 
Jedburgh Abbey, where several headstones com- 
memorate the Wardenships of departed Kers, as, for 
example, that of Andrew Ker, who was Warden of 
the Middle March, was knighted and died in 1545 l ; 
that of Sir John Ker, who followed his father's 
example, and died in 1562, 1 and that again of his son, 
Sir Thomas Ker, opposite Warden, and torment, to 
Sir John Forster, the English Warden, as above 

In the sixteenth century the West Wardenry of 
Scotland came to be almost exclusively associated with 
the Maxwell name, but on two occasions it was given 
to the rival, but less numerous, clan of Johnstone. 

Thus in 1585 the Lord Maxwell was dismissed from 

1 The headstones bear the dates 1524 and 1559. Our ancestors were 
remarkably careless as to dates, as is well known. 


the Wardenship of the West March of Scotland, and 
the Laird Johnstone was put in his place and com- 
missioned to apprehend him. 

Subsequently, Johnstone was defeated and taken 
prisoner, and shortly after Maxwell was reinstated as 
Warden, but in the fight at Dryfe Sands Maxwell 
was slain by the Johnstones. 

Finally, in 1608 Maxwell's son and heir assassinated 
Sir James Johnstone, but James I. succeeded in ap- 
prehending the assassin, and caused him to be publicly 
beheaded in Edinburgh in 1613. 


Sir Walter Scott of Buccleugh and Branxholme 
fought at Flodden at an early age, was one of the 
victors at Ancrum Moor battle, and became Warden 
of the Middle March in 1550, but in consequence of 
the ' deadly feud ' between Scott and Ker he was 
murdered in Edinburgh in 1552. 

His grandson was the intrepid Sir Walter Scott, 
the Laird of Buccleugh and first Baron Scott, who 
performed ' the last great Border exploit ' by breaking 
into Carlisle Castle in despite of Lord Scrope and 
carrying off 'Kinmont Will.' He was married to 
Margaret, sister of Sir Robert Ker (later first Earl 
of Roxburgh), and with him was styled the ' firebrand 
of the border.' 


In 1591 he was appointed Keeper of Liddesdale, 
and seems to have been allowed the higher rank of 
Warden, and to have treated with the opposite 
Wardens on an equal footing. Scot of Satchells 
writes of him as Warden : 

' Lord Buckleugh into the Scots Border 
Was high Lord Warden to keep them in good order ' ; 

but he does not appear to have had a commission for 
the Western March. 

In 1604 he went over into the Low Countries with 
a company of two hundred men, was created a Baron 
in 1606, and died in 1611. 


The first of this well-known family io long and 
intimately connected with the Wardenship of the 
East March to be appointed Warden was Sir 
Alexander Home of Home in 1449, and in that same 
year he was selected as one of the guarantors of a 
treaty with England. 

His eldest son again, also Sir Alexander, was 
Warden, and was created Lord Home in 1473. 

This man's grandson, second Lord Home, was 
appointed Warden of the East March in 1488 for 
seven years. 

The son, third Lord Home, was Lord High Chamber- 
lain and virtual Prime Minister in the reign of 


James iv., and thrust James on in his quarrel with 
England : he was Warden General of the three 
Marches. At Flodden he commanded the van with 
Huntley, and together they routed the wing of the 
English ; and then, Border fashion, they turned to 
pillage, 1 whilst their King was slain, so the tradition 

In 1516 he and his brother were executed for 
treason, and their brother George, fourth Lord Home, 
does not appear to have been Warden, yet he died in 
a Border fight, and his son Alexander, fifth Lord, was 
appointed Warden of the East March and ordered to 
keep Hume Castle, on account of its proximity to the 
Borders, as a place of war. 

His son Alexander, sixth Lord Home and first 
Earl of Home, became Warden of the East March in 
1582, and took a prominent part against Both well. 

In 1599 he went abroad, resigning the Wardenship ; 
and in 1603, accompanying James vi. into England, 
was made lieutenant and justiciary over the three 

1 See ' The Souters o' Selkirk.' 

' And up wi' the lads o' the Forest, 
That ne'er to the Southron wad yield ! 
But Deil scoup o' Home and his menie 

, That stude sae abiegh on the field.' 



1 The King he wrytes a hiving letter, 

With his ain hand sae tenderly, 
And he hath sent it to Johnnie Armstrong 
To cum and speik with him speedily.' 

' Ballad of Johnnie Armstrong. 
Border Minstrelsy. 


The Lord Wardens General seem to have been chiefly 
appointed for the purpose of taking military charge 
of the whole frontier in case of war, and in this 
respect probably had the same powers as the Royal 
Lieutenants, who were specially appointed to repre- 
sent the King : in either case they would have a 
special commission, and appear to be indifferently 
styled Locum tenens or Custos generalis. 

When Edward iv. in 1480 gave his commission of 
lieutenancy to the Duke of Gloucester, he granted 
him full authority to summon ' omnes et singulos 
ligeos et subditos nostros tarn in merchiis nostris 
versus Scociam quam in comitatibus eisdem merchiis 

Again, in 1497, when the Scots invaded England 
and the King had appointed the Earl of Surrey his 
lieutenant in the north, Bishop Fox in the Palatinate 
requested help from him. Surrey thereon came to 
Durham, and raised a large number of men in that 


county and in Yorkshire, by virtue of a like com- 

Again, in 1522 the King appointed the Earl of 
Shrewsbury his ' Lieut. Gen. of all the north parties 
for agenst Scotland/ ' forasmoche/ runs the commis- 
sion in Rymer's Foedera, ( as the Kingis Highnes our 
Sovereigne Lord hath sure & certeyn knowledge that 
his auncient enemyes the Scotts, by the procuring 
& Instigation of his notorious & cruell enemy the 
Frenche Kinge, in the begginning of the next mony th 
of September as before, entende to Invade this his 
Roialme of Englande, & not only to sley, spoil & 
robb his subjects & People of the north Parties & 
Merches near adjoynaunte unto the same Scottes etc.' 

Occasionally no doubt the office was conferred upon 
a court favourite or scion of the Royal House, and 
may have been a sinecure. 

Thus, when Henry, Duke of York, was appointed 
in 1495 titular Gustos Generalis of the three Marches, 
Thomas, Earl of Surrey, as ' subcustos et viceguardi- 
anos' performed the duties. In 1482, when Richard, 
Duke of Gloucester, was appointed Lord Warden General 
by Edward iv. as his locum tenens, war was expected 
with Scotland, and the appointment was evidently a 
military one. 

The great nobles of the north as the years went on 
were less and less often appointed Lord Wardens 


General, partly perhaps owing to the increase of the 
power of the Crown, partly to the exceeding responsi- 
bility of the office. 

When the Earl of Northumberland in Henry vn.'s 
reign ' indented for the 3 Marches and keeping of the 
Town of Berwick upon Tweed in time of war/ Bishop 
Fox of Winchester held it was too expensive a charge 
for one man's power when active war was expected. 

Having had experience of ' Keeping the Borders ' 
when as Bishop of Durham he defended Norham 
Castle in person against the Scots in 1497, he thus 
writes and advises Cardinal Wolsey : 

' I doubt not, my Lord, it shall be right necessary 
that the Kynges Grace make a Warden for the Est 
and mydle marches, for it shall be to muche for any 
oon persone to bere the burdeyn of all 3 marches in 
the tyme of werre ; and it shal be right expedient 
that he be a very hable man that shal be wardeyn of 
the said Este and myddle marches in the tyme of 
werre ; for uppon the Este marche shal be the moste 
busynesse of the werre ; savyng that if my Lord 
Dacre would leve his sone and his brother uppon the 
waste marches, wherby the Scottes have not muche 
with a great army invaded those partes, and lodge 
hym self in the Este marche, in myne opinyon, for 
the great experyence, acquayntance and landes which 
he hath in Northumberland, he shuld be right meit 


to kepe the said Este and mydle marches ; and whoo 
soo ever shalbe now Warden of them, he ought not to 
looke to have the fees that the said Erie of Northum- 
berland had ; seying that he had the said fees, as 
above is said, not only for the keping of the said Este 
and mydle marches, but also for the keping of the said 
towne of Berwick, which towne is no we in the Kinges 
hands and at his proper costes and chargies : and in 
my pouer opynyon the fees that the said Warden 
shall have owght, of reason, to be cessed much after 
the nowmbre of the souldyers which he will bynde 
hym to have contynually attendante and servinge in 
the werre uppon the said Borders.' 1 

In furtherance of the Tudor plan of centralisation 
and consolidation of the royal authority, Henry vin. 
initiated the Council of the North, and appointed in 
1522 a commission and a royal lieutenant to govern 
the north of England, whereby the power of the 
Wardens was more directly controlled by the court. 
' This plan of government,' as Dr. Lapsley says in his 
County Palatine of Durham, ' by a lieutenant and 
council continued until 1525, when a slight modifica- 
tion was made. This consisted in placing the north 
under the nominal control of the king's natural son, 
Henry FitzRoy, whose council carried on the actual 
work of administration. Henry was created Duke 

1 Original Letters (Ellis), cxiv. vol. i. 3rd series. 


of Richmond and appointed the King's Lieutenant 
General North of Trent.' 

The Duke remained in the north until 1532, and 
during that period his council governed the northern 
counties. After Richmond's departure his council, 
known now as the ' Council of the Marches,' continued 
to administer the north in co-operation with the Duke 
of Northumberland, Lord Warden of the Marches, 
until the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace in the 
autumn of 1536. 

In Scotland it appears that the Lord Wardens were 
not granted such full judicial powers in their various 
Wardenries as the English Wardens were wont to 
exercise. ' March Treason/ in the technical sense of 
offences against the Warden's enactment, as has 
already been shown in Chapter vn., is not much met 
with in the Scottish records. 

Scots Justiciars and Special Lieutenants were 
appointed from time to time, with especial powers to 
deal with malefactors, fugitives and rebels, by the 
King, and not infrequently the King conducted his 
own justice eyre. 

The reason for this was probably twofold, due in 
part to the jealousy of the King in regard to the great 
powers of such powerful chiefs as the Douglases, and 
in part also to the jealousy of the great nobles against 
each other. 


On this subject Sir Walter Scott wrote thus in his 
Introduction to his Border Antiquities : 

' The Scottish Wardens do not appear to have held 
Warden - Courts, doubtless because the territorial 
jurisdictions of Sheriffdoms, Stewartries, Baillaries 
and so forth, which belonged to the great families by 
hereditary right, and the privileges of which they 
jealously watched, would have been narrowed by 
their doing so. Besides, the Scottish hereditary 
judges possessed the dangerous and inconvenient power 
of repledging, as their law terms it, that is, reclaim- 
ing any accused person from courts of co-ordinate 
jurisdiction, to try him by their feudal authority.' 

The order of the Stewart-Court of Annandale is set 
forth in the Appendix of the Leges Marchiarum, from 
which we quote the first, fourth, and fifth items. ' In 
the first, it is thought meet for the Common-weel 
and more easie Reformations of Wrongs amongst the 
Subjects of the Realme, that ane of the Court Clerks 
of the said Stewartry sit in the Tolbuith of Loch- 
maban Ouklie [weekly], every Thursday, beginning at 
8 hours in the morning, and remaining while 3 hours 
afternoon : accompanied with 2 or 3 Officers of the 
said Stewartry, for directing of Precepts upon Com- 
plaints, as follows. 

' Item 4. That all Actions concerning Chancellarie, 
as serving of Brieves, Entire of Airs [entry of heirs], 

Division of Lands, and other Pleys concerning 
Heritage, proceed, and be decyded, according to the 
Common Law, and Practicque of this Realme estab- 
lished by our most noble Princes of before. 

' Item 5. It is appointed, that all criminal causes, 
sic as Assisters with England, Resetters of them and 
their goods, Committers of murder, Fyre, Ravishing of 
Women, Stouth, and sic like, to be committed be 
themselves, and before all others to be taken order 
with, be an famous and unsuspected assize, according 
to the ancient Laws of the Kealme.' 

The stewart is elsewhere styled baron, and it is 
evident that these courts of hereditary jurisdiction 
dealt with what was ' March Treason/ and in England 
would have been punished by the Wardens. 

In 1445 it was ordained by the estates of Scotland 
that ' in time to come there should be no Wardanis 
on the Borders made in fee and heritage.' 

Their judicial powers seem to have been specially 
limited by their commissions, and on one occasion in 
the sixteenth century, when greater powers than usual 
were granted by James vi. to Sir John Carmichael, 
Warden of the West March, sundry of the nobles 
protested, and some reduction was conceded to them. 

The following is quoted from a commission of 
governorship and justiciary granted by Queen Mary 
in 1551 to Sir William Scot of Branxholm. 


It ran ' within the bounds of the Lordship of 
Liddesdale and Teviotdalehead, and wherever the 
clans of Liddesdale may remain ; with power to hold 
Courts at Branxholm and Hawick to do all things 
competent to his office therein ; and to destroy 
utterly with fire and sword the dwellings of those 
malefactors who cannot be apprehended.' 

Also, we may quote from the same volume l : 

' The Minutes of the Court of Justiciar of our 
Sovereign Lord the King held and begun in the 
Castle of Armitage, on Friday, 15th March 1537-1538 
before Robert, Lord Maxwell, Justiciar of our Lord 
the King in that part, by his commission judicially 
shown and read, specially constituted : suits being 
called and the Court affirmed.' Lord Maxwell seems 
to have been the Warden of the West March as well 
as Keeper of Liddesdale, and yet the King's commis- 
sion was necessary for him before he could hold 
his court. 

At this court a dempster was sworn in, also two 
Serjeants, and the business seems to have consisted 
in taking certain pledges of the Elliots to certain 
prisoners to take their trial in Edinburgh, and of 
sundry others for the keeping of the peace in 

The Royal Justiciars and Lieutenants of the Border, 

1 Armstrong, History of Liddesdale, Appendix li. 



then, that we hear of in the Scots records were 
appointed by the King with a judicial rather than 
a military purpose : they would oversee both the 
Wardens and the Barons or Stewarts in respect of 
keeping order and the administration of justice. 

These appointments become frequent in the latter 
half of the sixteenth century, and probably point to 
the increased disorder on the Marches. 

Sometimes perhaps the appointment may have been 
a mark of royal or court favour, as in the case of the 
Lieutenancy of all the Marches conferred on the 
Earl of Bothwell in 1559, but usually, as we have 
already suggested, the office seems to be chiefly 

In the year following Lord Ruthven is appointed 
Lieutenant and Justice over all the bounds of the 

Sometimes the Scots Kings or Regents rode forth 
to 'do justice' upon their Border, the most famous 
case of all being that of King James v., who, as every 
Borderer knows, conducted a ' justice eyre ' of the 
most rough and ready kind in person, and summarily 
hung on one particular circuit in 1530 Johnnie 
Armstrong of Gilnockie. In this last case, James 
seems to have been influenced by an unworthy 
jealousy of the splendour of his equipment and 
retinue, as both Pitscottie and the ballad intimate. 


' But James, looking upon him sternly, said to his 
attendants, " What wants that knave that a king 
should have ? " and ordered him to instant execution. 
Whereupon Armstrong " made great offers to the 
King. That he should sustain himself, with 40 
gentlemen, ever ready at his service, on their own 
cost, without wronging any Scottishman : secondly, 
that there was not a subject in England, duke, earl, 
or baron, but, within a certain day, he should bring 
him to his Majesty, either quick or dead." At length, 
he seeing no hope of favour, said very proudly, " It 
is folly to seek grace at a graceless face : but," said 
he, " had I known this, I should have lived upon the 
Borders in despite of King Harry and you both : for I 
know King Harry would down weigh my best horse 
with gold, to know that I were condemned to die 
this day."' 1 

* John wore a girdle about his middle, 
Imbroider'd ower wi' burning gold, 
Bespangled wi' the same metal, 
Maist beautiful was to behold. 

There hang nine targats at Johnnie's hat 
And ilk ane worth three hundred pound 

What wants that knave that a king should have, 
But the sword of honour and the crown ? ' 

Thus it was with Jethart justice that James v. 

1 Lyndsay of Pitscottie, History, p. 145. 


quieted his own Border and ' made the rush bush 
keep the cow.' Queen Mary, again, held a justice 
eyre at Jedburgh, to which her Warden of the West 
and Middle Marches, the Earl of Both well, should 
have brought the evil-doers of his Wardenship had he 
not been dangerously wounded by ' John o' the Park.' 

Even the unwarlike James vi. made an expedition 
against the thieves of the West Border in 1597. He 
thus wrote to Henry Leigh at Carlisle (Deputy- 
Warden of the English West March) : 

' As some of the broken men and malefactors within 
this our West March have refused to enter and 
submit as directed by our Council, we have resolved 
to passe forward in proper person uppon them with 
fyre and sword upon Tysday next the xxii day of 
this instant to their exterminacion and wreike.' 




WITH the union of the two crowns in the person of 
James vi. and i. the golden time of the Rank-rider 
of the Marches, the Border Freebooter, and the 
Moss-trooper came to an end. He was forced to 
' purge himself and live cleanly/ for he could no 
longer play upon the mutual jealousies of the 
Wardens nor 'take assurance' from the opposite 
realm, but was punished for his misdeeds by Com- 
missioners or by the Judges on their Assize. All 
hostile Acts of Parliament against each other's realm 
were deleted in 1607, and either country sought the 
common security ; but it was only gradually that the 
Borders were quieted. Wanton destruction indeed 
such as had formerly been caused by the Wardens 
ceased, but ' doing a little shifting for their living ' 
was still a profession amongst the marchmen, and the 
horse-stealer lingered on into the reign of George i., 
for we hear of a noted horse-thief, ' Luck-in-the-bag,' 
in connection with the rising of ' the '15.' 

The profession, however, lost caste, and offenders 


were hardly dealt with, being pursued by ' slough- 
dogs ' (bloodhounds) through the sloughs, mosses and 
bogs, ' and thus in 1616 Sir Wilfrid Lawson and Sir 
Wm. Hutton, two of his Majesty's commissioners for 
the government of the middle shires of Great Britain, 
send salutations to John Musgrave the provost 
Marshall and the rest of his majesty's garrison (of 
Carlisle),' and order ' watches to be duly searched 
as was appointed and presentments to us or one of 
us to be made, of every fault, either in constables 
for their neglect in not setting it forth, or in any 
persons slipping or neglecting their duties therein ; 
and that you likewise see that slough dogs be pro- 
vided according to our former directions, and as this 
note to this warrant annexed particularly sets down.' 
The first ' dogge ' is to be kept beyond Esk, and 
other eight are also to be provided and their quarters 
named ' the Sheriff, officers, l^ailiffs and constables, 
within every circuit and compass wherein the slough 
dogs are appointed to be kept, are to take care for 
taxing the inhabitants towards the charge thereof, 
and collect the same, and for providing the slough 
dogs ; and to inform the Commissioners if any refuse 
to pay their contributions, so as thereby such as 
refuse may be committed to the gaol till they pay 
the same.' l 

1 Burn and Nicholson, vol. L p. 131. 


Various commissions were appointed, composed of 
both English and Scots, whose ' condescendings ' dealt 
with offenders of either country. Thus Englishmen 
refusing to staunch old feuds were to lie in Edinburgh, 
and Scottishmen in Newcastle. Armour and weapons 
in the unsettled districts in the Middle and West 
Marches were to be put away, and no horse, gelding 
or mare above the price of 50s. sterling or 30 Scots 
was to be kept upon pain of death. 

In the case of the Grahams or Grames, who lived 
beside Esk and Liddle in the English part of what 
had been till its division in 1552 the Debatable 
ground, a ' transplantation ' of almost the entire 
' name ' was effected early in the new reign. 

As the King proudly declares in his proclamation 
of the first year of his reign, December 1603, ' By the 
travel of his cousin, the Earl of Cumberland, his 
lieutenant there, with the assistance of other com- 
missioners, things are brought to that point, that the 
offenders are all at our mercy, and do all (but specially 
the Grames) confess themselves to be no meet persons 
to live in those countries, and therefore have humbly 
besought us that they might be removed to some 
other parts, where with our gracious favour they 
hope to live to become new men, and to deserve our 
mercy : although we do confess, we have rather in- 
clined to this course of mercy, as a thing more 


agreeable to our nature, than the taking of so much 
blood as would be shed, if we should leave them to 
the just censure of the law.' Nevertheless His 
Majesty has to admit concealing as best he may 
this hard fact under much verbiage that there 
being ' a lack of means to provide presently for the 
transplantation of these Grames elsewhere, to the 
intent their lands may be inhabited by others of good 
and honest conversation : we have thought it not 
amiss, for better effecting thereof, and for ease of the 
prisons, to dismiss the vulgar sort of them : retaining 
their heads and principals for pledges, not only to be 
answerable for their forthcoming when they shall be 
called for, but for their good behaviour also in the 
mean season.' 

Mr. Bell, the west Warden's clerk, gives in his 
MS. 'a note and abstract of the several names of 
the clans of all the Grames, severally given in to 
the right honourable Thos. Lord Scroope of Bolton, 
Lord Warden of the West Marches of England 
towards Scotland, preferred by them the eighth day 
of Oct. 1602 ; whom they severally bound themselves 
to be answerable for to the said Lord Scroope.' Com- 
mencing with the Goodman of Netherby, who answers 
for himself, sons, brothers, ' brether,' and tenants, and 
concluding with those that ' Will Grame, Goodman of 
Medop, his eames [uncles] sons, and friends will answer 


for/ the number is four hundred and thirty-nine, and 
'the tax assessed and received for transplantation of the 
Grames in the year 1606 ' is set down at 408, 19s. 9d., 
paid not by King James or Scotland, but by a rate 
upon the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland. 
He gives the disbursements of the three ' goings over 
of the Grames into Ireland,' and it is abundantly 
evident from the meek manner in which these hardy 
Borderers submitted that in King James's ' Middle 
Shires ' ' Othello's occupation was gone/ 

The sword was not always beaten into the plough- 
share, for the Border country remained largely 
pastoral ; but the lance of the notorious ' Geordie 
Bourne ' of the Marches became not infrequently the 
pick of * Geordie Pitman/ who to this day exhibits 
the courage and hardihood that characterised his fore- 
elders through the centuries of Border warfare till 
in his wisdom King James vi. and I. ' thought good 
to discontinue the divided name of England and 
Scotland out of his royal style, and resolved to take 
and assume the name and style of Great Britain.' 



NOT again could ' Bangtail/ ' Nebless (noseless) 
Clemy/ the ' Devil's chaft blade/ and ' Archie-fire- 
the-fells ' labour scaithless in their vocation. 

They had after 1603, as we have already seen, to 
forswear horse-flesh and 'live cleanly.' No more 
would they be able to run their day foray or prick 
their way by the light o' the moon to 'ride out 
light and return heavy ' with scores of nolt and sheep 
at the slight risk of some time or other of having to 
pay the fines of ' Double and Sawfey ' at a Warden's 
meeting or Day of Truce. 

' Ave Caesar ! Morituri te salutant.' 

For in 1605 the Border Commissioners agreed that 
for a shillingsworth of theft death was to be the 
penalty, and they set forth a short way with reivers 
in these words : 

'If any Englishman steal in Scotland, or any 
Scotsman steal in England, any goods or cattels 
amounting to the value of 12d., he shall be punished 
by death ; and that all accessaries to such felonies, 
viz., outputting or resetting, shall likewise suffer 
death for the same.' 




EDWARD i.'s policy of hatred had been only too successful : 
he had sown dragon's teeth, and had reaped the 'deadly 
feud ' which was always ready to lift up its head on every 
occasion, for the memory of the ' Douglas Larder ' on the one 
side or the cruelty of Cressingham and brutality of Hazlerigg 
on the other was ever kept fresh through the centuries by 
some fresh outrage on either side. Now to give the reader 
some notion of the absolute detestation of the English felt 
by the Scots even so late as the sixteenth century, it will 
suffice to quote from Monsieur Beague, a French gentleman 
who assisted the Scots in the 'campagnes' of 1548-9, who 
was an eye-witness of the barbarities then practised. 

After the fight by Haddington he relates that ' the Scots 
throng'd to their camp, and beheld the naked and mangl'd 
bodies of the English stretch'd out upon the ground, with 
an air rather of resentment than pity ; nay, some who no 
doubt had suffer'd most of their insulting enemy, had the 
cruelty to put out the eyes of the dead.' 

And again, after the retaking of Ferniehirst Castle, near 
Jedburgh, ' others of the Scots tried their skill and contended 
who amongst them had the art to cut off the leg or the arm 
of an Englishman with greatest facility; and when thus 
they had made away with such as had fallen in their own 


hands ; they bought from the French ; nor lost they any 
time in cheapening, but gave frankly whatever was ask'd, 
their very arms they parted with, for the pleasure of 
charming revenge. I remember, they purchased one of the 
prisoners from myself for a horse ; they ty'd him neck and 
heels, laid him down in a place's field, run upon him with 
their lances, arm'd as they were, and on horseback, kris'd 
him, cut his body to pieces, and carried the divided parcels 
on the sharp end of their spears. I cannot much commend,' 
concludes Monsieur Beague, ' the Scots for this usage ; we 
had not the same reasons to delight us doing ill to our 
enemy ; but the truth is, the English had tyrannis'd over 
that part of Scotland in the most barbarous manner, and I 
do not find that 'twas any injustice to repay them, as the 
saying is, in their own coin.' 

Certainly the Scots were bitter haters, and as certainly 
they had just cause for hate, since the English did their 
utmost to provoke and humble their proud neighbours. 

You can read of the pleasure a Warden took in ' pricking 
the Scot' in this extract from a letter 1 written by Lord 
Dacre of the North (Lord Warden of the Marches from the 
first to the seventeenth year of Henry vm.) to Henry vm. 
in 1513 ' at Harbotill the xiiith day of Novembre at vi of 
the clok in the morning.' He describes the great success of 
his ' Rode into Scotland by way of Gallespeth ' (Gamblespath 
on Windy Gyle) in the Middle March, wherein his brother 
entering Scotland by ' Cressopbrige,' the west boundary of 
the march, had happily co-operated. He promises, moreover, 
' in the next light ' (full moon) to ' perform ' another ' rode ' 
into the West March, ' and in the meantime shall cause 
smaller Rodes be made, which shall be as gret annoyance to 
the Scots as a great Rode should be, and thus shall yo r 

1 Original Letters (Ellis), xxxiv. vol. i. 1st series. 


money be employed to the best I can, and for the greatest 
hurt and destruction of the Scotts ; for I shall be as goode 
a husband thereof, as I would be of myn awn, and always I 
shall be redy to gif accompt of the same at your pleasure.' 

Ruthless as Agamemnon, Henry vui. himself commands 
Hertford to spare neither age nor sex in his campaign : 

aiirvv o\e6pov 

For the poorer people throughout these centuries life on 
the Border must have been an Inferno l from October unto 
March, 2 for at any time the ' red cock ' might crow on the 
roof of their 'toon,' wife and daughters be ravished and 
murdered, the ' insight ' and ' outsight ' alike ' lifted ' and 
carried oft' four blackened walls being alone left to tell 
the tale. 

Hearken to the Border widow's lament : 

' I sew'd his sheet, making my mane ; 
I watch'd the corpse, myself alane ; 
I watch'd his body, night and day ; 
No living creature came that way. 

I took his body on my back, 
And whiles I gaed, and whiles I sat ; 
I digg'd a grave, and laid him in, 
And happ'd him with the sod sae green. 

But think na ye my heart was sair, 
When I laid the moul' on his yellow hair ; 
think na ye my heart was wae 
When I turn'd about, away to gae ? ' 

1 Leslie, under date 1532, thus writes : 'Inglismen and Scotis, quhen 
betwene thame na apne weiris war zit proclamet, slewe, spoylet, stall, 
rugit, reivet, ilk from other, baith be say and land, cruellie.' 

2 During these months the marches were ordered to be set (see Chapter 
vni. ). The summer months usually afforded a welcome interlude for pastoral 




THIS ' deadly feud ' then deliberately built up by Edward i. 
continued like a never-dying beacon flame to call the 
English and the Scots to arms for over three hundred years, 
and was only staunched in 1603, when fate chose out the 
Scottish Solomon as the first recipient of the double crown. 
Various efforts to stay the flame or to ' stanch the feud ' had, 
however, been made. 

Edward i. himself had preferred originally pacific methods 
before warlike, but the twice unfortunate death of the 
' Maid of Norway,' in 1290, had wrecked his project of her 
marriage with his eldest son, and with it the union of the 
two countries under one crown. 

The voice of the lover was hushed ; the trumpet sounded 
' Boot and Saddle,' and it was with a sabre in his hand, and 
not with bridal offerings, that Edward henceforth wooed 

The Scots alliance with France was the result, and 
Scotland's favours were naturally given to France, not 
England. Statesmen perceived the need of the alliance, and 
some few sought for union, but till time had assuaged the 
bitterness that had become engrained such projects failed of 
accomplishment. Edward in., as we have seen, gave his 
daughter in marriage to the Scots Prince David, after- 
wards David ii., but the ancient enmity was not thereby 

When at war with France, Edward iv. proposed a marriage 
between his daughter Cecilia and the Scottish Prince, but 
no sooner had Edward come to terms with France than he 


dropped treating with James in. for his son's hand and 
the old national Adam rising within him proclaimed James's 
revolted brother, Albany, to be King of Scotland by the grace 
of the King of England. 

A few years later an indenture of matrimony was drawn 
up between Richard in. and James for the marriage of the 
Scots King's eldest son, James, to Anne, Richard's niece, the 
daughter of John, Duke of Suffolk. 

Henry vn., after proposing to marry either his sister-in- 
law, or his cousin Katharine, granddaughter of the Duke of 
Somerset, to James iv., finally gave him his daughter 
Margaret, which, however, did not prevent James from 
rushing upon his ruin at Flodden in spite of the mutual 
' grete tender Luve and Kindness ' * previously alluded to and 
his own oath. 2 

The marriage of Edward vi. to Princess Mary of Scotland 
(the ill-fated Queen) was vehemently pressed both by 
Henry VIIL and the Protector, but the wooing was so rough 

1 The indenture of 1487 given in Rymer (arising out of the 'grete 
tender Luve and Kindness athie Prince has in sundri wise schewin unto 
uthir ') proposes a marriage ' between the King of Scots and Queen 
Elizabeth late wife of King Edward the Ford, or between Prince James, 
the first begotten son of the seid king of Scottis, and ane of the seid 
Edward the Ford umquhile King of England Dochties, and sistir to the 
said Princes Elizabeth nowe queene of England quhilk likit best to baith 
the said kings. 

' Be the quhilk Mariage or Mariagez, by the Grace of God to be com- 
pletit, sail folowe the finall appeasing and cause of cesing of all sic 
Debaites and Controversies, as in time past has bene, for the Castell and 
Town of Berwick, betuix the Kings of the seid Eealmes for the tyme being 
movit and attemptit, or the quhilk Castell and Town of Berwick, the said 
King of Scottis desires alwais Deliverans as the finale appeasing of the 
seid mariages or any of thame, be sic concorde as may be betuix Him and 
the seid King of Ingland.' 

2 James iv.'s oath, 1502 : 

'I, James, by the Grace of Gode, King of Scotland, Promise, be thir 
Haly Evangelis and Canon of the Haly Mess be me Bodily touchit. Swere 


that the national honour pricked on also by the French 
influence was aroused against it. 

The following Convention, indeed, seems to have con- 
templated another Raid of Ruthven. 

This Convention was signed by Norman Lesly, James 
Kirkcaldy of Grange, Henry Balnavis, David Monnypenny, 
and William Kirkcaldy, and was an agreement between them 
and the Protector Somerset and Edward vi. 

' We cannot deny/ they say, ' but by all Reasone must 
confesse, that unlesse our sad Sovereign Lady de delyvered 
into the Hands of the Kingis majeste that now is, to be 
Brough up and educated togithirs by his sade Uncle and 
otheris of the Privy Counsall, the sad marriage notwith- 
standing any Promesse that have or can be, is never likele 
to take effecte, whereby the occasione no we sent by God 
evidentlie for the Determination of a perpetual Peax, Unite, 
and hartie naturale Love betwene both the Realmes being 
pretermitted, the semblabe is never like to enswe hereafter, 
and so shall both Statis their Realmes and Subjectis con- 
tinue, to the Displeasure of Almighty God, the Destruction 
of themselves and their Countres, to the eternal Condemnation 
of the Workers of the same, in Hetered, Rancour, Malice 
and Vengeance the one against the other.' 

This ' Hetered, Rancour, Malice and Vengeance ' were yet 
continually and thoughtfully fed by either side to the very 
end, for Henry vn. uses the phrase In dominio nostro 

that I sail for my parte wele and trewly kepe and observe the Trete of 
Perpetuale Peax and Amitie, and every Article of the same, now lately 
passit and concludit be sufficient Auctorite, and in the Names of Us, the said 
King on that Ane Partie, and the Rt Excellent the Eight Hie and Mighty 
Prince Henry, be the Grace of God, King of Ingland and of France and 
Lord of Irland on that other Partie, bering Date the xxiv Day of the 
moneth of January last past, and the same als fer ais in me is I sail cause 
in likewise to be Observid and Kept my Subgiectis.' 


Scotiae, and Mary Queen of Scots on her marriage with the 
Dauphin assumed the arms of England. 

Yet it is difficult for Englishmen nowadays, who as a rule 
are singularly ignorant of Scots history, to realise how 
distinct from, and foreign to England, Scotland was in olden 
days, and these two extracts from indentures of 1492 and 
1497 may give some additional notion of this political 
estrangement. (Rymer's Foedera.) 

Thus in the Ratificatio Conventionum Scotiae of 1492 a 
five years' truce and abstinence from war between the Kings 
of England and Sqotland it is stipulated that 'the Con- 
federate Kings ' are to join in should they wish to do so and 
signify the same within six months ; if by then they do not 
do so, and if the Kings of England and Scotland do not 
wish the Confederate Kings to be included, then the truce 
is of no force or meaning. These kings are ' pro parte Regis 
Scotorum, Karolus Rex Franciae, Johannes Rex Daciae, Rex 
Hispaniae, Rex Neapoli, Austriae et Medioleni Duces,' and 
' pro parte Regis Angliae, Imperator, Rex-Romanorum, 
Reges Hispaniae, Portugaliae, Neapoli, Austriae, Burgundiae, 
Ferrarii et Sabaudiae Duces.' 

Again, in 1497 the circumstance and the cause of the 
violation, breakage and dissolution of the last truce is 
committed to the arbitration, judgment and final deter- 
mination of the King and Queen of Spain. 

A fresh truce between the two Kings of England and 
Scotland is to last from sunrising of 30th September to 
sunset 30th September 1504 the Apostolic Prothonotary 
Petrus Ayala being brought in as arbitrator, 'pro bono 
Pacis, tanquam media Persona, interfuit illustris Dominus 
Petrus Ayala Prothenotarius Apostolicus ac Illustrissimoruin 
Principum Regis et Reginae Hispaniorum orator.' 




THE Bishop of Durham seems occasionally to have been 
appointed Warden in commission with others, but in con- 
sequence of his royal prerogative in the Bishopric he had 
oftentimes to take the field against the Scots in person in 
early times, for he was regarded as ' a brazen bulwark against 
Scotland.' x Bishop Bek, for example, who is said ' to have 
loved war for its own sake,' in 1298, ' carried through the 
siege of the Castle of Dirlton in Scotland, and seems to have 
had the whole conduct of the war in behalf of the King.' 

The King requests the Bishop to send his men ; he does 
not command him to do so, but in course of time 'in 
military matters the privileges of the Palatinate were never 
allowed to interfere with the complete freedom of action on 
the part of the authorities of the Marches ; and, further, the 
Bishops always accepted this arrangement without question : 
undoubtedly, indeed, they were glad of any assistance in 
their arduous task of defending the Borders, even though 
obtained at the cost of some infringement of their liberties.' 

Finally, it appears that the Bishop of Durham, in 
Elizabeth's reign, ' was responsible to the Wardens of the 
Marches for any assistance they might require, or that he 
might be able to give.' 

1 See Lapsley, County Palatine of Durham. (Longmans.) 




THE ' Border Spear ' seems usually to have been contented 
with but little furniture for himself or nag. As one who 
enters for a Point-to-Point nowadays, he rode as light as 
possible, for in case of ' Hot Trod ' he might have to trust to 
the swiftness of his horse for safety. A jack 1 (leathern 
jacket strengthened with iron plates), steel cap, and spear were 
the usual equipment of the yeomen class. Spear or lance or 
Jethart staff or halbert seem to have been in use indifferently, 
though the two last would perhaps have been more useful 
for footmen when fighting against horsemen, as more likely 
to bring the rider to the ground. 

As the late Mr. Bain pointed out in his Introduction to the 
Calendar of Border Papers, vol. i., the commission of in- 
quiries of Queen Elizabeth on the Western Border gives 
not only the arms and weapons, but also notes their 

'The jack, steel cap, and spear predominate next the 
Scottish Border, the bow and bill in the districts further 
south, and there are not above half-a-dozen guns or arque- 
buses : while two men were ready to face the enemy, one 
with a pitchfork and the other with a pikestaff.' 

In 1605 the Border Commissioners on the West, appointed 
by King James for the ordering of his ' Middle Shires,' agree 
in regard to armour, weapons, and horses as follows : 

'That proclamation shall be made, that all inhabiting 
within Tindale and Riddsdale in Northumberland, Bew- 
castle dale, Wilgavey, the north part of Gilsland, Esk, and 

1 The jack seems to be applied indifferently to the brigandine, gambeson, 
scalecoat, and lorica. 


Leven in Cumberland, east and west Tevidale, Eskdale, 
Ewsdale and Annandale in Scotland (saving noblemen and 
gentlemen, unsuspected of felony or theft, and not being of 
broken clans) and their household servants, dwelling within 
those several places before visited, shall put away all armour 
and weapons, as well offensive as defensive, as jacks, spears, 
lances, swords, daggers, steelcaps, hagbuts, pistols, plate 
sleeves, and such like ; and shall not keep any horse, gelding 
or mare, above the price of 50s. sterling, or 301. Scots. : upon 
like pain of imprisonment.' 


THE damage or loss seems to have been assessed by a jury 
of twelve, six of whom were to be ' gentlemen of Worship 
and good name of Scotland,' chosen by the English Warden, 
and the other six ' like gentlemen of England,' to be named 
by the Scots Warden. Then this assessment was doubled, 
and a third ' in respect of such charges as the partie offended 
had sustained in the inquearinge and findinge certainlye who 
was the offender ' finally added. This was the famous 
double and sawfey or ' two doubles,' in reality a threefold 
fine, which is so commonly met with in old Border histories 
and nearly always wrongly explained. Even in Mr. Heslop's 
excellent Dictionary of Northumberland Words ' sawfey 
money' is said to be 'blackmail levied by the reivers of 
Tynedale and Redesdale.' 

The English Dialect Dictionary lends its high authority 
to the like error, for it defines ' sawfey money ' as ' blackmail 
levied by Border Raiders.' 

Again, Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary, under the heading 


of ' Saughie,' gives this explanation, ' The sum given in name 
of salvage ; an old term used in the Border laws.' 

This would seem to imply a derivation from safety, as 
though ' sawfey ' signified safety money. 

Now the three terms Principal, Double and Sawfey are 
succinctly set down and explained under the 'manner of 
holding days of Truce' as follows (Calendar of Border 
Papers, voL ii. p. 724) : 

'Principall' is given as the ' true single quantity of a bill.' 

' Doubles ' another single quantity. 

' Sawffies' a third single quantity. 

Every one filed or convicted of a bill for stolen goods is 
condemned to pay three for one (with exceptions), viz. 
principall, double and sawffie. 

Whatever the derivation, the meaning is more particularly 
set down by Sir Robert Bowes in his report on the Border in 
1551. He has some difficulty in spelling the term : it is now 
the ' double and falss ' and again the ' double and sale' and 
finally the ' double and falsse,' but he knows quite well what 
it means. ' Ye principall goods sold or spoyled to be re- 
dressed or the value thereof with the double, which was as 
muche againe as the principall amounted unto, and for the 
fals ' (' sawfey '), ' or in respect of such charges as the partie 
offended had sustained in the inquearinge and findinge 
certainlye who was the offender all other tyme, the value of 
the gooddes which in the whole amounted to a threefold 
restitution.' He goes on to say that ' by remisse and negli- 
gente directions made by officers upon the Borders, the 
same good orders were perverted to the favor and profyte of 
the thiefe, losse and damage of trew men ' by only ordering 
the ' double ' to be paid. Wherefore the Commissioners 
order that after the first day of May 1551 'for all attemptets 
donne and committed or to be committed after the said day 


of the first meetings of the said Commissioners hereafter, 
duringe ye peace redresse should be made with double and 
falsse yt ys to say in triplum or three times as muche as the 
principall amountethe unto accompted en the principall (if 
yt may be had) to discharge one third part thereof.' In the 
indenture of 1553 it is stated that this ' redress by payment 
of the principal with two doubles ' not having estopped 
thieves and evil-doers they shall for the third fault incur 
the pain of death as common offenders against the laws of 
the marches. 

The ' double and sawfey ' was also the mulct for ' any 
tymbre or woodd fellen, taken and caryed away by the in- 
habitants of either realme furthe of the opposite realme to 
be esteamed and assessed by the othe of the partie offended 
or his servante keeper of the said woodd.' 


This was not, as stated in a footnote in the Leges 
Marchiarum, a 'scolding or wrangling' between two Bor- 
derers, but a public accusation of faithless dealing and 
broken word. A licence had to be obtained for this from 
both Wardens. This 'Baughling,' however, having been 
found to give 'great occasion of further trouble and in- 
convenience,' it was laid down in the indenture of 1553 
' that no person or persons of either the said realms, shall, at 
any day of Trewes, or other Convention or assemblies between 
the officers of both the said realms, bear, shew or declare 
any sign or token of reproof.' 

In order, however, that justice might be done in the 
matter, it was enacted in the indenture of 1563 c that where 
any person of either realm shall complain upon the subjects 
of the other realm, dwelling within any of the Wardenries 
thereof, that he will not, according to his bond and promise, 


re-enter as lawful prisoner either for himself, or any other 
that he standeth bound for, or will not pay his ransome 
promised, and other such like matter and causes, that the 
person complainant shall give in his bill to the warden of 
the marche where the person complained upon dwelleth : 
and the warden shall cause him to be lawfully arrested, to 
answer the next day of Trewe, and to do justice upon the 
complaint, in giving of sentence according to the marches 
equity and reason.' 

The ways of spelling the word are many and various. A 
'reproche or baughle,' Sir Robert Bowes styles it. A 
' baughling (brawling) or reproving,' wrote Sir Walter Scott 
in his Introduction to Border Antiquities. It is written as 
Baugle in the Border Laws, and as Bawchling in Calendar 
of Border Papers. 

The true word seems to be Bauchle, the meaning of which, 
as given in Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary, is to treat con- 
temptuously, to vilify : as to bauchle a lass, to jilt a young 
woman, or to put out of shape, as e.g. to bauchle shoon. 

'Bawchling,' says the memorandum (Calendar of Border 
Papers, vol. ii. p. 724) on the 'manner of holding days of Truce,' 
'is a publicke reproffe,or rather ane appeall,by holding a gloave 
(representing the false hand of the person bawchled) on a 
speares pointe, at a day of truce or other assemblye of English 
and Scottes, whereby the partie bawchled is accused or chal- 
lendged for breaking his word, faith or bond : and sometimes 
the speare and glove are by the accuser fixed on the house- 
topp of the person accused : but this is very punishable by 
the treaties, yf it be done without the princes or the 
wardens license.' 

Sir Robert Bowes in his Informacions gives the following 
interesting description of the said 'baughling.' 'And be- 
cause the manner and order of such reproche or baughill is 


not knowne to everye man I thoughte good here to describe 
ye same thus : 

' If any Englishe man or Scottsman be bound to another of 
the opposite realme, for ransome, entrie of prisoners, or any 
other juste cause, for the which he bindethe him by his 
faithe and truthe, and doth not accordinglie performe and 
accomplishe the same, after reasonable monitions thereof 
given to the partie, and request to performe the said bonde 
and promise, It hath been used between the realmes, that 
the partie offended would beare a glove, or a picture of him 
that had so broken his truthe, and by the blast of a home or 
crye to give knowledge to the whole assemblie, that such a 
person is an untrue and unfaithful man of his promise to 
his reproche, which is as much in the lawe of armes as to 
give unto him the lye, and appeale to fight with him in the 

' And indeed the partie so reproched may (if he will) defend 
his cause and truthe by singular battaile, which the other 
partie can not honestly refuse.' 



Abernethy, 10. 

Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 

quotations from, 67. 
Aglionby, Edward, extract from 

letters to Burghley, 172, 173, 174, 

187, 188. 
Agricola, 7. 
Albany, Duke of, 235. 
Alexander in., 13, 14. 
Allendale, 43. 
Alnmouth, 43. 
Alnwick, 47. 
Angles, the, 7. 
Angus, Robert Umfreville, Earl of, 

176, 192. 
Annandale, 52, 239. 

keeper of, 51, 52. 

Anne, daughter of John, Duke of 

Suffolk, 235. 
Appleby, John de, Dean of St. 

Paul's, 203. 
Thomas. See Carlisle, Bishop 

Armstrong family, the, 27, 39, 50, 

80, 115, 155, 182. 

Hector of Harlaw, 30, 31. 

Johnnie of Gilnockie, 222, 


Sandie, 58, 60. 

Armstrong, R. B., History of Liddes- 

dale and Debateable Land, ix, 63. 
quotation from History of 

Liddesdale, 49-51, 57, 177. 
Arundel, Earl of, 53. 
Athelstane, 8. 
Austria-Hungary, 8, 9. 
Avower, 109, 118-120. 

Bain, Joseph, viii. 

extract from the Border 

Papers, 188, 189, 239. 
Balfour, 142. 

Ballard, his Domesday Inquest, 10. 
Balliol, John, 13, 14, 15. 
Balnavis, Henry, 236. 
Bamborough, 38. 
Bannockburn, battle of, 16. 
Barty of the Comb. See Milburn. 
Batablers, 29, 60. 
Bauchle or Baugle, vii, viii, 94, 242- 


Beacons, their distribution, 165-170. 
statutes concerning, 166-170. 

Beague, Monsieur, 231. 

quotation from, 231, 232. 

Beaton, Cardinal, 188. 

Bek, Bishop of Durham. See 

Bell, Richard, 45, 123, 142. 

quotations from his MS., 

105-112, 141-143, 228, 229. 
Bellingham, 22. 
Berners, Lord, 24. 
Berwick, 9, 15, 38, 43, 105, 139. 

garrison of, 47, 177, 178, 179. 

commissioners of, 115. 

Bewcastle Castle, captain of, 48, 49, 

account of captaincy, 54. 

Dale, 239. 

Black Rood, the, 16. 
Blakehope Burn, 23. 
Boethius, Hector, 9. 
Boniface, Pope, 11. 
Bonthron, 80. 



Border, the, its initiation, 6. 

clans enumerated, 172-175. 

early laws, 142, 151. 

tenure on, 42, 43. 

See Leges Marchi- 

drawbacks of, 116- 


hounds, 25. 

life upon, 29. 

meetings, varieties of, 104, 105. 

papers. See Calendar of Border 


Spear, 239 

Borderers, 27. 

Scots, described by Froissart, 

24-26, 31. 

described by Gray, 26, 27. 

character of, 30, 31, 32, 33, 154. 

freebooters, profession of, 225, 

transplantation of, 227- 


Borderland, descriptions of, 1-5, 22. 
Bosnia, 8. 
Bothwell, Francis, Earl of, 50. 

James, Earl of, 50, 222. 

Patrick, Earl of, 50. 

Bowes, Sir Robert, vii, 105, 128, 

144, 150, 179, 188, 199. 

Informations, viii, 41. 

quotations from In- 
formations, 243, 244. 

quotation from Book 

of the State of the Frontiers and 

Marches, 19. 
quotations from, 40, 

41, 42, 43, 44, 116, 117, 241, 242, 


Sir William, vii. 

Declaration from 

Barwicke, 72. 

quotation from, 104. 
letter to Cecil, 128. 

Braes of Yarrow, 4. 
Braxfield, Lord, 151. 
Britons, the, 7. 

' Broken men,' 102. 
Brough, 9. 

Brougham Castle, 29. 
Brunanbuhr, battle of, 8. 
Brutus, 16. 

Buccleugh, Keeper of Liddesdale, 

Laird of, 2, 39, 134-137, 156. 

Lord Scott, 36, 50. 

Burgh-upon-Sands, 17. 

Burghley, 33, 104, 135, 136, 139, 

156, 163, 164, 172, 174, 180, 187. 
Burleigh, vii, viii. 
Burn and Nicholson, describing 

debatable land, 56, 57, 67. 

History of Westmorland 

and Cumberland, ix, 105, 145. 
extracts from History 

of Westmorland and Cumberland, 

115, 116, 191, 192. 
Burton, Dr. Hill, 11, 12. 


Calendar of Border Papers, viii, ix, 

30, 33, 37, 39, 44, 45, 46. 
extracts from, 46, 

47, 51, 53, 54, 72, 99, 115, 118, 
119, 125, 139, 161, 164, 172-175, 
178, 179-183, 187, 188, 239, 240, 

Camden, quotation from Britannia, 

Canute, King, 9. 

Carey, John, 136. 

Sir Robert, 47, 129, 136, 161, 


letter to Cecil, 124- 


Carham-on-Tweed, battle of, 9. 

Carleton, Thomas, letters to Lord 
Burleigh, viii. 

quotation from his Re- 
port, 53, 54. 

Carlisle, 9, 25, 29, 37, 38, 39, 44, 73, 
78, 81, 105, 139. 

Andrew de Harcla, Earl of, 203. 

breakingof castle, 134-137, 211. 



Carlisle Castle, 2, 48. 

Gilbert Welton, Bishop of, 203. 

Thomas Appleby, Bishop of, 

192, 193, 203. 

Carlyle, Thomas (his ancestors), 

Carmichael, Sir John, 121, 132, 133, 

Carr, Sir Robert, Earl of Somerset. 

See Somerset. 
Carre, Sir Robert, 101. 
Carter, 23. 

Cecil, Lord, 54, 124-128. 
Challoner, Sir Thomas, 62. 
Charles Edward, Prince (Prince 

Charlie), 39. 
Charlton Spur, the, 25. 
Charlton, William, of Bellingham, 


Chattlehope Spout, 23. 
Chester, 7. 
Cheviot, 9, 38. 

Hanging Stone on, 37, 43, 47. 

Chevy Chase, 2, 38. 
Clifford, family of, 202, 203. 

Robert de, Lord of West- 
morland, 66, 191, 192, 202, 203. 

Clyde, the river, 7. 

Cockermouth, Lord of. See Lucy, 

Cold trod, 93. 
Coleridge, Miss Mary, 3. 
CoUingwood, Sir Cuthbert, 48. 
Commendation, description of, 10. 
Compurgation, 77. 
Constable, 30. 

Constantino, King of the Scots, 8, 1 1. 
Coquet, 20. 
Corbit Jock, 23, 24. 
' Comage,' 26. 
Council of the North, 217. 
Creightonian Lecture, ix. 
Cressingham, 78, 231. 
Crosby Ravensworth, 44. 
Crozier clan, 48. 
Cryssop, 37, 38, 43-44. 
Cumberland, 7-12, 39-42, 44, 73. 

Cumberland, extent of musters, 
44, 45. 

George, last Earl of, 203, 227. 

Cumbria, 8. 
Cumbrians, 8. 
Cuthbert, St., 8. 


Dacre, family, 207-209. 

Ranulph de, 203. 

Thomas, Lord, 48, 58 ; ex- 
tracts from letters, 58-60, 139, 

140, 216, 232, 233. 
William, Lord, 55 ; 


from letters, 123, 124, 163. 
Dalriada, 8. 
David ii., 16, 234. 
' Deadly feud,' origin, 17, 18. 

causes, 19-21. 

described by Gray, 33, 34. 

between Maxwells and 

Johnstones, 34-36. 
between Veitches 


Tweedies, 36. 

Debatable Land, extent and ac- 
count of, 55-65. 

division of, 62-65. 

Deira, kingdom of, 7. 

Danish establishment in, 8. 

Dirlton Castle, 238. 

Dodd family, 25. 

Domesday freeholders, their rights, 


Survey, 12. 

Double and Sawfey, vii, 96, 97, 230, 

Douglas, Sir Archibald, 142. 

Earl of, 204, 205. 

family of, 21, 28, 50, 171, 206, 


Sir James, 2, 62, 91. 

Larder, 231. 

Drurye, Sir William, 126. 
Dryffe Sands, battle of, 35. 
Dumfries, Provostship of, 49. 
Dunstanburgh, 38. 
Durham, 12, 16. 


Durham, Bishopric of, 44, 238. 

Bishop of, 44. 

Bishop Bek of, 238. 

Bishop Fox of, 214. 

letter to Wolsey, 

216, 217. 
Thomas, Bishop of, 203. 


Eadwulf Cutel, 9. 

Edinburgh, 5. 

Cross of, 32. 

English loss of, 8. 

Edward I., Bang of England, 6, 16, 
17, 18, 27, 67, 73, 187, 231, 234; 
claim to overlordship of Scotland, 
11, 13, 14 ; championship of John 
Balliol, 14, 15 ; making of March 
Laws, 81, 82, 166, 167 ; institution 
of Lord Wardens, 190, 191. 

Edward n., 17, 18. 

Edward in., 16, 234. 

Edward iv., 38, 82, 91, 92, 95, 120, 
214, 215, 234, 235. 

Edward vi., 42, 60, 82, 153, 235, 236. 

Edwin the Anglian, 7. 

Egfrith of Northumbria, 8. 

Elizabeth, Queen of England, 2, 30, 
38, 39, 48, 53, 54, 82, 100, 135, 
178-183, 188, 237, 239. 

Elliot family, the, 21, 25, 39, 50, 
115, 155, 182, 221. 

English Dialect Dictionary, 240. 

Eslington, 48. 

Ethelfrith of Northumbria, his 
exploits, 7, 8. 

Ettrick Stream, 4. 

Eure, Lord, 40, 127, 160, 183. 

extract from letter to 

Burghley, 139. 

Sir William, 183. 

Eurie, Lord. See Eure. 

Ewrie, Sir Ralph (Lord), 199. 


Falaise, Treaty of, 13. 
Farneherst, 31. 
Farnstein, 133. 

Fenwyck, Sandy, 126. 

Ferguson, R. S., quotation from 

History of Cumberland, 207. 
Ferniehirst Castle, 231, 232. 
Fletcher, C. R. L., ix, x. 
Flodden field, battle of, 64, 213, 235. 
Florence of Worcester, 12. 
Foix, Gaston de, 27. 
Forster, Sir John, 47, 48, 121, 127, 

129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 138, 182, 

183, 210. 
letter to Walsing- 

ham, viii. 

Forth, the Firth of, 7, 10, 37. 
Fox, Bishop. See Durham, Bishop 

Froissart, 21. 

quotations from, 24-26, 31, 

203, 204. 
'Fyling' by Warden, 93, 109, 113. 


Galashiels, 4. 
Gala Water, 4. 
< Gamblespath,' 37, 78, 80. 
Gilsland, 53, 54, 239. 
Gloucester, Duke of, 214, 215. 
Goldsmith, Oliver, his Essays, 28. 
Graham family, the, 57, 227, 228, 

Gray, Edward, 160. 

quotation from his Choro- 

graphia, 26-27. 
Greyme, Richard, 60. 
Guthred, 8. 


Haddington, 231. 
Hadrian, the Emperor, 7. 
Hall family, the, 48. 
John, 184. 

Hallam, his State of Europe during 
the Middle Ages, 10. 

'Handwarcel,' 'Handwarsil,' 73, 74, 

Hazlerigg, 231. 

Hector of Harlaw. See Arm- 



Helen of Troy, 2. 

Henry 11. of England, 12, 13. 

Henry in., 66, 207. 

Henry vi., 82. 

Henry vn., 65, 101, 128, 236. 

Henry vm., 48, 65, 82, 92, 178, 
183-188, 217, 231, 232, 235, 

Heron, Sir John, 48. 

Sir William, 128. 

Herzegovina, 8. 

Hesleyside, 25. 

Heslop, R. O., Dictionary of Nor- 
thumberland Words, 240. 

Heton, Alan de, 203. 

Hexhamshire, 43. 

Hoddam (Howdam), keeping of the 
house of, 52. 

Hodgkin, Dr., 186. 

Creightonian Lecture, ix. 

Holy Island and the Farnes, 38. 

Home, Lord, 136. 

- family of, 212, 213. 

Homer, 3. 

Odysseus, 1. 

quotation from the Iliad, 2, 


Horsley, John, 188. 
Hot trod, 98-99, 100, 239. 
Howard, Lady William of Gilsland 
and Naworth, 53, 209. 

Lord William of Gilsland 

and Naworth, 53, 150, 151, 

Humber, the estuary, 7. 

Hume, 49. 

Hume Castle, 49. 

Hunsdon, Lord, 132, 139, 178. 

Huntercombe, Walter de, 190, 191, 

Hutton, Sir William, 226. 

Irving, Washington, on the Scottish 

Border in his Miscellanies, 3-5. 
Italy, 8, 9. 

James i. of Scotland, 15. 

James 11., 206. 

James HI. of Scotland, 91, 92. 

James iv., 213, 235. 

James v. of Scotland, 92, 178, 222- 

James vi. and I., 36, 50, 130, 203, 

209, 211, 213, 220, 225-229 ; his 

survey of 1604, 57. 
Jamieson, Scottish Dictionary, 240, 


Jedburgh, Provostship of, 49. 
Joanna, daughter of Edward m., 

John Faranyeir, i.e. Robert in., 14. 

St., of Halnaker, 191. 

of Wyncheles, 81. 

Johnstone family, the, 21. 

the clan of, 211. 

Sir James, 35. 

Laird of, 34, 35. 

Jutes, the, 7. 


Katharine, granddaughter of the 
Duke of Somerset, 235. 

Keepership. See Annandale, Liddes- 
dale, Redesdale, Tynedale. 

Ker, Andrew, 126. 

family, the, 21, 209, 210. 

- John, 126. 

Sir Robert, 31, 32, 124, 126, 

127, 128, 135, 136. See Rox- 
burgh, Earl of. 

- Sir Thomas, viii, 130, 131, 

Kershope. See Cryssop. 

Kinmont Will, 2, 39, 134-137, 211. 

Kirkcaldy, James of Grange, 236. 

William, 236. 

Lammermuir, 4. 
Lancashire, 8. 
Land Serjeant, vii, 53, 54. 
duties of, viii. 


Lang, Andrew, History of Scotland, 


quotation from, 14, 15. 

Langholm, Captain of, 51. 
Lapsley, Dr., quotation from County 

Palatine of Durham, 217, 218, 


Lawes Castle, 40. 
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, 226. 
Leatham Farm, 23. 
Lee, Sir Richard, 178. 
Leges Marchiarum, ix. 
extracts from, 60-61, 148- 

150, 153, 165, 166, 167, 185, 219, 

220, 242. 
first statutes, 66-103, 112- 

114, 142, 143, 156. 
Leigh, Henry, 224. 
Leslie, quotation from his History 

of Scotland, 19, 20, 233. 
Lesly, Norman, 236. 
Lewelin, Prince of Wales, 190. 
Leyden, quotation from note to 

' Ode on Visiting Flodden,' 34. 
Liddesdale, 29, 39, 49, 115, 155. 

keepership of, 50. 

lawlessness of, x ( 49, 50, 122, 

163, 164, 172. 
- payment of the keeper, 176-177. 

Lideley, Prior of, 79-81. 

Lochmaben, house of, the keeping 
of, 82. 

Lochwood, 35, 49. 

Lockerby, 35. 

Lord Wardens of the Marches. 
See Wardens. 

Lothian, 9, 11. 

Louis xi. of France, 15. 

Lowther, extract from letter to 
Burghley, 180. 

Lucy, Anthony de, 203. 

Thomas, Lord of Cocker- 
mouth, 193, 203. 


Maitland, Richard, 62. 
Malcolm n., King of Scotland, 9. 

Malcolm Canmore, 9, 10, 13 ; his 

homage to William, 11, 12. 
Malcolm iv., 12, 13. 
Mangerton, Laird of, 29, 30. 
March courts or Marches, 71-78. 

forums or battle grounds, 78. 

treason, the law of, 138, 139, 


code of, 141-144, 146. 

penalty of, 147-150. 

Marches, the Eastern, Middle, and 
Western, their extent, 37. 

clans inhabiting. See Calen- 
dar of Border Papers. 

described by Sir Robert Bowes, 

40, 41, 42. 

described by Thomas Phillips, 

39, 40. 

garrison of, 47-51. 

laws of, ix, x, xi. 

laws and customs of. See 

Leges Marchiarum. 

Lord Wardens of. See War- 

muster of the East, 47. 

of the Middle, 47. 

of the West, 46, 47. 

Watches, extent of the, of, 165, 

orders of the, of, 153- 

organisation by Lord 

Wharton of the, 156-160. 
Margaret, sister of Edward I., 13. 
daughter of James I. of Scot- 
land, 15. 
Mary Queen of Scots, 2, 50, 82, 

131, 177, 181, 210, 220, 224, 235, 

Maxwell, Lord Robert, 58, 176, 185, 

the clan of, 21, 49, 158, 210. 

Milburn, 22, 24. 
Monnypenny, David, 236. 
Morpeth, 139, 140. 
Mortimer, Edmund, Earl of March, 



Murray, the Regent, 30. 
Musgrave, Humprey, 29, 33, 163. 

John, 226. 

Sir Simon, 54. 

Thomas, 54, 203. 


Napier, Alexander, 36. 
Nectansmere, battle of, 8. 
Neilson, Dr., ix, 78, 79. 

quotation from, 68. 

quotation from Trial by 

Combat, 73, 77. 

Nevil, Ralph de. See Neville. 
Neville family, 204, 205, 206. 

Lord, 203, 204. 

Ralph de, 203. 

Newcastle, 25. 
Nicholson. See Burn. 

Bishop, his Collection of Leges 

Marchiarum, ix, 66, 82, 143. 

his Collection of Leges 

Marchiarum, quotations from, 
68-77, 148-150. 
Norham Castle, 47. 
Normans, the, 9. 

the Conquest, 9. 

Northampton, Treaty of, 16. 
Northumberland, 3, 7, 9, 12, 22, 25 
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 48. 

Earl of, 2, 30, 153. 

Henry de Percy, Earl of, 191 

192, 203, 204, 217, 218. 

inhabitants of, 27. 

Northumbria, 8, 9. 


Odysseus, 1, 2. 

Otterburn, battle of Wardens, 21 
204, 205. 

Palestine, 13. 

Pembroke, Countess of,her Memoirs 

191, 192. 
Earl of, 191. 

enrith, 14, 29. 
ercy, family of, 21, 28. 

Henry de. See Northumber- 

land, Earl of. 
ersians, the education of the 
ancient, 30. 
'hillips, Thomas, quotation from, 

39, 64. 
'icts and Scots, their invasions and 

repulsions, 6-8. 
*ilgrim'a Progress, 4. 
Pilgrimage of Grace, 218. 
Pledge of Wardshiell, 73, 74. 

Pledges ' of Warden, 101, 102. 
Plump Watches, 160, 161. 


Ragman Roll, the, 16. 

Raiders' Lines or Paths of the 
Raiders, their debt to geographi- 
cal influence, 162. 

description of, 161-164. 

Ratificatio Conventionum Scotiae, 

Rede, 20, 37. 

Sir William, 179. 

Redesdale, 19, 139, 140, 239. 
keeper of, 48, 51. 

Redewater, 23. 

Reed, Percival, 48, 115. 

Reidswire, 37. 

meeting of the Wardens and 

fight at, 48, 132, 133, 171. 
Rere Cross, the, 9, 10. 
Richard Coaur de Lion, 13. 
Richard m., 208, 235. 
Richmond, Henry FitzRoy, Duke 

of, 217, 218. 

Ridpath, History of the Border, ix, 79. 
Robert 11., 14. 
Robert in. See John, son of 

Robert 11., or John Faranyeir. 
Robson Clan, the, 25, 155. 

John, 157. 

Rockliffe, fortress of, 48. 

Romans, withdrawal from Britain, 



Routledge family, the, 102. 
Roxburgh, 15. 

Earl of, 209, 211. 

Russell, Lord Francis, 37, 130, 131, 

132, 210. 

Ruthven, Raid of, 236. 
Ruthwell, Lord, 222. 
Rymer, Foedera, ix. 

quotations from Foedera, 63, 

64, 65, 88, 90, 215, 235, 237. 


Sadler, Sir Ralph, 30, 188. 

Safe-conduct, letters of, 87, 88, 91. 

Sawfey. See Double and Sawfey. 

Saxons, the, 7. 

Scone, 16. 

Scot family, the, 21, 171. 

Henry, 73, 81. 

Captain Walter, of Satchel, 

quotations from, 27. 
Sir William, of Branxholme, 

Scott, the house of Buccleugh, 211, 

Scott, Sir Walter, 1-5, 38, 136, 150, 


his Border Min- 

strelsy, ix. 
17, 18, 32. 

quotations from, 

quotations from 
Border Minstrelsy, 35, 36, 99. 

quotations from 

Border Antiquities, 219, 243. 

quotation from 

The Lay of the Last Minstrel, 170. 

Scrope, Lord, x, 15, 29, 39, 48-50, 
134, 135, 174, 180, 181, 211, 228. 

Henry de, 203. 

Selby, Sir John, 127, 164, 179. 

Sir William, 129, 136. 

William, senior, 161. 

junior, 161. 

Severus, the Emperor, 7. 
Shrewsbury, Earl of, 215. 
Sichel, Miss, 3. 

Sidney, Sir Fhilip, 2. 

quotation from his 

Apologie for Poetrie, 28 ; his 

Arcadia, ,9. 
Skiddaw, i 9, 39, 169. 
Sleuth-ho' Jids, 'Slew' or ' Slough' 

dogs, 99. 
Smailhol/ne, 4. 
Smith, A. L., x. 
Solway, the, 7, 13, 17, 37. 
Strand, 7. 

Somerset, Duke of, 235, 236. 
Earl of, 209. 

Souden, 23. 

Soutrey, 31. 

Spain, King and Queen of, 237. 

Speed, his map of the Marches, 42. 

' Speiring ' and ' Searching ' of War- 
dens, 94, 113. 

Stafford, Richard de, 203. 

Standard, battle of the, 12. 

Stanemore, 9. 

Starkhed, 31-32, 128. 

Stevenson, R. L., 1. 

Stow, quotation from his Annales, 

Strathclyde, 8. 

Suffolk, John, Duke of, 235. 

Surrey, Earl of, 214, 215. 

Sussex, Earl of, beacon orders to 
the Wardens, 169, 170. 

Tennyson, Lord, Idylls of the King, 


Teviotdale, 4. 
Thornton, Abraham, 17. 
' Threap Lands,' 64. 
Trespass of cattle, 95. 
Trial by Combat, 73, 74, 77-81. 
Tripoli, 9. 
Truce, the, 83, 90. 

days of, or March Days, 82, 93, 

94, 116. 

description of, 105-112. 

Troy, siege of, 2. 

Tweed, the river, 4, 9, 13, 37. 



Tweed, vale of, 20, 38. 
Tweedie, the family of, 36. 
Tweedmouth, 16. 
Tyne, the river, 7, 8. 

north, 20. 

Tynedale, 14, 19, 239. 

keeper of, 48, 51. 

Tyndale, people of, 174. 
Tynemouth, 43. 

Veitch family, the, 36. 
'Vower publique.' See 'Avower,' 
109, 118, 120. 


Wallsend, 7. 

Walsingham, Lord, viii, 39, 131, 132. 
Walter 1'Espec, 12. 
Warden Courts, 77, 84. 

proceedings of, 145-180. 

Wardens of the Marches, the Lords, 6. 

breaking of the laws, 130-137. 

dealing with March treason, 


distribution of, 45-51. 

duties, 97-103, 188. 

etiquette at meetings of, 123- 


extension of power of, 93, 94. 

faults of procedure, 116-122. 

fyling by, 93, 109, 113, 114. 

institution, 190. 

jurisdiction of, 111-116, 217- 


office of Lord General, 214. 

origin of office, 186-187. 

payment of, 176-185. 

powers of administration of, 

89, 92, 93, 138, 139. 

powers of mustering, 42-44. 

procedure at days of truce, 


retinue and officers of, 51. 

rights in debatable land, 59, 60. 

speiring and searching of, 94, 


Wardens, tables of Lords of English 
Marches, 195, 197, 199, 201. 

tables of Lords of Scottish 

Marches, 194, 196, 198, 200. 

trysting-places, 37. 

Wardshiell, Manus de, ix. 

Pledge of, 73, 74. 

See Trial by Combat. 

Warenne, John, Earl of, 191. 

Wark, 47. 

Wear, 8. 

Welton, Gilbert, 203. See Carlisle, 

Bishop of. 

Westminster Abbey, 18. 
Westmoreland, 9, 12, 39, 40, 41, 42, 


Earl of, 2, 183, 206. 

extent of muster for, 45. 

Wharton, Lord, 62, 105, 183, 199. 

organisation of March 
Watches, 153-160. 

proclamation, 46. 

Widdrington, Sir John, 184. 

William the Conqueror, 26, 42. 

relations with Scotland, 

10, 11, 12, 13. 

William the Lion, 13. 

William Bufus, 12. 

Wilson, Rev. H. A., x, 72. 

Winchester, Bishop of. See Dur- 
ham, Bishop of. 

Windy Gyle, 20, 37. 

day of truce at, 130-132, 


Wolsey, Cardinal, letters from Lord 
Dacre, 140, 163. 

letter from the Bishop of 

Durham, 216, 217. 
Woodryngton, Roger, 126. 


Xenophon, 30. 

York, 9, 32. 

Henry, Duke of, 215. 

Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press